In an opinion piece published by the Altoon Mirror this morning, Joseph Otis Minott, executive director and chief counsel of Clean Air Council, disregards the facts about Pennsylvania’s energy infrastructure and the Mariner East project. This pipeline infrastructure project is legally permitted and thoroughly regulated, period.
In his article, Minott calls on the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Governor Wolf to “take a more comprehensive approach” to regulating the infrastructure project. However, due to the amount of anti-pipeline activist complaints and lawsuit filings, Mariner East has undergone multiple delays due to sensibible regulatory oversight, but also due to frivolous lawsuits funded by groups like the Clean Air Council. In fact, according to the DEP themselves, “the permits were among the most stringent the department has ever issued for this type of construction activity.”
In addition, Governor Wolf and the DEP continue to hold the project accountable. Since its inception, Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer has agreed to pay over $40 million in fines. To say that Governor Wolf and the DEP have not provided strict regulatory oversight is completely disingenuous and out of touch with reality.
Minott also claims that the Mariner East project has no regard for the environment or residents in the area. Transporting these resources via pipeline infrastructure is actually four times safer than that of rail or truck. Sunoco/Energy Transfer’s investment in the state is actually keeping these liquids off the roads and railways, where they are more likely to endanger the public. The company also committed to ensuring the construction is done in the most environmentally safe way possible. Energy Transfer holds themselves responsible for returning land to its original state or better. However, the constant interruptions and regulatory burdens not only delay construction, but also delay restoration.
Minott and representatives of the Clean Air Council would rather flip the switch on energy all together when in reality pipeline infrastructure makes energy more affordable across the state and employs thousands of local union members. They continue to stand against the positive economic benefits the industry creates in Pennsylvania, and in that, hurt residents statewide.