FACT CHECK: George Alexander’s Guest Column in the Delco Times Spews Unsourced and False Claims
Over the weekend, the Delco Times decided to publish an OpEd by George Alexander that calls out an OpEd written by Earl Baker, spewing false and inaccurate information. Not only does Alexander attempt to combat the facts Baker provides in his OpEd, but he does so without any proof. The anti-pipeline blogger fails to provide a single source for his statements and misinforming the public is a dangerous way to gain followers.
Below are statements from Alexander’s piece that are erroneous, accompanied by sourced facts that tell the REAL story. It is apparent that George Alexander prefers to warp information to scare Pennsylvanians into being threatened by pipeline infrastructure, rather than educate the public with the facts.
- FALSE STATEMENT: “Mariner East has almost nothing to do with energy.”
- TRUTH: The Mariner East pipeline carries propane, ethane, and butane, which are used for home heating and various industrial uses (EIA.gov). In 2018, Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation in electricity generation from nuclear power, which supplied 39% of the state’s net generation. Half of Pennsylvania households use natural gas as their primary home heating fuel. From 2010 to 2018, PA’s share of electricity generated from natural gas more than doubled. (EIA.gov)
- FALSE STATEMENT: “Over 90% of the material it carries is shipped overseas to make single-use plastic.”
- TRUTH: It would be nice to know where Mr. Alexander gets his information because it’s not accurate. According to employees at the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex, around 80-100, 9,000 gallon trucks pick up propane daily at Marcus Hook, which equals 720,000 gallons or 17,142 barrels. Mariner East 1 carries 70,000 barrels a day, which means that 24% of the resources transported on this pipeline are for not just domestic, but local use (Edgemont.org). And Marcus Hook is just one of the off-takes on this pipeline.
- FALSE STATMENT: “Mariner East, which carries no natural gas at all and operates at pressures far higher than those of natural gas pipelines.” & “Liquefied gas is far more volatile than natural gas.”
- TRUTH: Mariner East carries natural gas but in their liquid form or natural gas liquids (NGLs). NGLs are hydrocarbons (the same family of molecules as natural gas) but composed exclusively of carbon and hydrogen (EIA.gov). A pipelines’ allowance of operational pressure depends upon the construct of the pipeline and the materials it carries. While liquefied gases are more volatile because they require high pressures and low temperatures for transportation, the pipelines that transport them are designed to account for those changes. According to PHSMA, certain pipelines are allowed to operate at higher pressures if certain conditions are met that ensure safety. Allowing pipelines to operate at higher pressures leads to greater efficiencies and gas product throughput. (PHSMA.dot.gov).
- FALSE STATEMENT: “CPV Fairview will never actually use ethane from Mariner East.”
- TRUTH: Mariner East pipelines are located on site at CPV Fairview and are clearly listed as a fuel source of ethane (CPV.com).
- FALSE STATEMENT: “These materials present the risk of a rupture and explosion that could kill hundreds of people in Delaware and Chester counties, as multiple studies of Mariner East risk have shown.”
- TRUTH: Throughout the Mariner East’s construction, multiple risk assessments were conducted. In fact, Alexander helped coordinate the “Citizens Risk Assessment” commissioned by a coalition that paid Quest Consultants to study the impact the pipeline could have in the case of an emergency. That report stated, “that a person is 20 times more likely to die from a traffic accident or fall from stairs and 35 times more likely to die from a house fire than from an incident involving the Mariner East 2 pipeline…” (Delco Times).
George Alexander’s strategy to frighten Pennsylvanians about the risk associated with Mariner East is not based on factual evidence. Mariner East is not about risk, it is about providing Pennsylvania the infrastructure needed to transport the Commonwealth’s naturally flowing resources and enabling it to prosper.