50 people gathered by the Democratic-leaning group, Concerned Citizens of Twin Valley, held an anti-pipeline community meeting Tuesday night.
Participants on the panel included anti-pipeline blogger George Alexander, Sen. Judy Schwank and David Anspach, of Caernarvon Township. The three discussed their worries about the hazardous materials carried by the pipeline and its proximity to the community.
Anti-pipeline activists have been blaming Pennsylvania’s hard working, well-trained, highly skilled union laborers who are building the pipeline with what they claim is faulty construction. Such assessments are unfortunate and lack basic understanding of large construction projects necessary to make such claims.
Safety concerns raised by the panel were combatted with information from those closest to the construction of ME2, the union pipeline workers – the hard-working Pennsylvanians who work on these projects for a living. The workers noted they are clear witness to the company’s commitment to follow rigorous safety rules and protocols put in place by the Public Utility Commission in Pennsylvania. These union members are members of our community. Their families live in this area, their children go to schools in this area, and they, like most everyone else, want to be able to work in this area.
Pipelines are the safest form of transportation of energy products. In the panel, anti-pipeline blogger George Alexander either misspoke or purposely attempted to misstate the facts when he claimed that pipelines are about as safe as transport by railroad. In fact, pipelines are 4.5 times safer than rail.
What anti-pipeline activists continue to ignore is that Sunoco and Mariner East did more than what is necessary to engage the public on this project. The company participated in more than 750 meetings with counties and local municipalities, held 25 open house meetings in 21 counties, and more than 100 emergency preparedness meetings with stakeholders, emergency responders, and schools since 2014. These were all opportunities for the community to ask their questions and have them answered directly.
While their concerns are genuine, the pipelines in this area existed well before the more recent population increase. Mariner East made sure to utilize brownfield or existing right of way across much of the pipeline route. Mariner East 2 followed Mariner East 1 across most of the state from Southwest to Southeast Pennsylvania, which was in the 1930s. People chose to build communities, schools, and houses near the pipeline not the other way around.
Anti-pipeline activists are quick to oppose any type of energy project that has an impact on them or their community, but they, like the rest of us still rely on these products every single day. They would just prefer that other communities sacrifice so that they can author a blog or hold a meeting in an air-conditioned room on a Tuesday night. They’re quick to offer their outside the mainstream opinions, but fail to adhere to the consequences of their world view is disingenuous.