On Wednesday, officials from Chester County wrote to Governor Wolf calling for the shut down of Mariner East 2 project after an inadvertent return (IR) occurred at Marsh Creek Lake. While IR’s are unfortunate, they are not dangerous and pose no threat to the community (see more information about the IR here).
In their letter to Governor Wolf, officials state “This drilling fluid contains bentonite and other chemicals.” However, this is not true and it is only said to scare the governor and others into thinking the IR was hazardous. Drilling fluid is made up of mostly water and non-toxic bentonite. Bentonite is not harmful in these amounts and no other chemicals are present. It is understood that Marsh Creek Lake serves as a critical drinking water reservoir however drinking water has not been reported affected.
These officials call for suspending the construction of the pipeline until a separate entity gives an “honest evaluation” of whether or not the water is noxious or harmful. Such an “honest evaluation” is already taking place. Just because the commissioners do not agree with what is happening doesn’t justify the creation of another regulatory framework.
What these officials continue to ignore is that “drilling mud” is designed with the purpose of being environmentally friendly for the Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) process to have as little impact on the environment as possible. Calling for yet another investigation of what is already known will waste taxpayers dollars just like it did in the past.
A separate entity to review pipeline construction already exists, it is the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and to suggest that the DEP has not been honest or fair in their decisions surrounding ME2 would be erroneous. As noted in their letter, the DEP has conducted in depth investigations, temporarily suspended work on the pipeline and held the company accountable for violation of their permits.
This is just another unreasonable attempt to delay construction of ME2 without sound grounding.