Eric Friedman, president of the Andover Homeowners’ Association, and vocal opponent of the Mariner East Pipelines, announced that he will pressure the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to release documents detailing calculations on the effects of accidental release of natural gas liquids from the pipelines.
The PUC is obligated to deny release of the documents because of their sensitive nature and the possibility of jeopardizing public safety. Freidman, however, appealed to the Office of Open Records (OOR) in attempts to slow or halt Mariner East 2’s pipeline operation. The OOR sided in Friedman’s favor; however on July 25, the Public Utility Commission appealed the determination to the Commonwealth Court, stating that the documents contain confidential information and because disclosure could jeopardize security, they are entitled to withhold the release.
This is not the first attempt to block the Mariner East pipelines by Friedman. In 2017, he led local fights against the Mariner East 2 Pipeline after it was fully permitted for construction, advocated for the use of taxpayer dollars to fund a redundant risk assessments of the pipelines. Opponents like Friedman are reaching for anything to hold this project back while threatening public safety, and delaying economic opportunity through frivolous lawsuits and other actions.
If put in the wrong hands, these documents could cause great harm to innocent Pennsylvanians. Marcellus Drilling noted how terrorists for example, could potentially use this information to carry out their own objectives and attacks. They acknowledge the extreme nature of this claim, but it is conceivable.
Friedman’s battle against Mariner East is unwarranted and postpones Pennsylvania’s opportunity to benefit from its natural resources. Mariner East pipelines could generate $9.1 billion to the state’s economy and produce another $46 million in personal income taxes during construction. Local energy sources will also reduce energy costs for Pennsylvania consumers as well.
Mariner East projects have been extensively vetted by the most rigorous review processes at both state and federal levels. Attempts like Friedman’s serve to distract Pennsylvanians from all of the benefits they’re experiencing because of pipeline infrastructure.