Recently, an opinion piece was published in the Unionville Times regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to allow construction on Mariner East to continue. The author and editor, Mike McGann, refuses to acknowledge that he, along with all Pennsylvanians, continue to be the beneficiaries of economic stimulation that energy infrastructure enables throughout the state. Gov. Wolf’s decision to allow construction is keeping that stimulation alive during a time of economic uncertainty.
McGann claims to be concerned that workers will not practice social distancing if on the job, but just like grocery stores and other essential businesses remain open under that stipulate, the same is possible with construction. He goes as far as providing pictures of construction workers but no proof of where they are even obtained from, not a street sign or pipeline in sight. In addition to that, if these workers are even working on Mariner East, they seem to be complying with the 6 ft. distancing rule and are wearing the appropriate protective gear.
McGann fails to acknowledge the fact that energy resources are still needed during a quarantine. As widely reported, Mariner East transports critical propane and ethane from the Marcellus Shale. A large number of Pennsylvanian’s depend on these resources for home heat and electricity, service that would be lost without the continued infrastructure development.
Mariner East has already suffered significant delays due to frivolous lawsuits and the timing of this pandemic could not have been worse. Hard working union members were finally able to continue construction after a recent DEP permit bar was lifted, only to get halted again by COVID-19. Gov. Wolf’s intentions were not to spread the illness, but to allow those who could continue to work safely under the given circumstances, not to lose their jobs again. It is apparent McGann would rather see more of PA’s population unemployed and struggling to survive, than admit the need to complete Mariner East.