User avatar
By sandbagger2
#492487
Local officials turn up heat to ensure safety of pipeline process
By Bill Rettew, brettew@dailylocal.com
POSTED: 01/05/18, 3:43 PM EST | UPDATED: 1 DAY AGO 0 COMMENTS


WEST CHESTER >> In light of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s decision Wednesday to shut down construction on the controversial Sunoco Mariner East 2 statewide, state Sen. Andy Dinniman has decided to turn up the heat on Sunoco.

Dinniman, D-19 of West Whiteland, said Thursday that the state has not, and is not, fully overseeing the safety of the pipeline process. The senator is inviting a group of citizens, civic leaders and elected officials to meet next week at his office to consider funding a study of the pipeline project with private money.

“The governor didn’t solve the problem in terms of protecting public safety, and if the state doesn’t do it we’ll perform a risk assessment ourselves,” Dinniman said.

Dinniman said that while other states regulate pipeline construction in high-density areas and consider an area’s geology, there is very little oversight in Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday the DEP indefinitely suspended work on the pipeline statewide until Sunoco complies with the terms of its permitting process.

The ruling comes in the wake of a DEP violation notice served to Sunoco concerning the company’s use of a controversial horizontal directional drilling method without the proper permitting out near Harrisburg.

Dinniman also is working closely with state Sen. John Rafferty, R-44, to propose a series of pipeline bills to be considered when the Legislature returns to session in late January.

“The reason we will have the bills – more pipelines will be built and we have to have protections that do not exist in this state now,” Dinniman said.

Dinniman said it’s important for citizens to know who was responsible for decisions being made every step of the way in the approval process leading up to construction of Mariner East 2.

Sunoco Pipeline LP’s $2.5 billion project is expected to deliver as much as 250,000 barrels a day of ethane, butane and propane from the state Marcellus Shale regions to the former Sunoco refinery complex at Marcus Hook.

“Who made the decision to allow for such an easy process?” Dinniman asked. “It’s a little late for the DEP to start acting tough when for six months they didn’t enforce. They still haven’t taken care of adequate enforcement in our area.”

Jeff Shields, Sunoco Pipeline communications manager, insisted Thursday that the company is working with DEP to resolve the problems.

“We continue to work with the DEP to resolve all issues connected with our environmental permits and look forward to promptly returning to work on this important pipeline project,” Shields said. “Safety is our first priority ― the safety of those in the community, the safety of our employees and the safety of the environment.”

Dinniman and Lynda Farrell, executive director of Pipeline Safety Coalition, pointed to a group of citizens in Chester and Delaware counties who have created a united front against pipeline construction.

This shows that people have different approaches to the basic problems of this project, Farrell said.

“All worked together for a common goal with our legislators saying, ‘enough is enough.’” she said.

In Delaware and Chester counties, there are now 50,000 residents in the loop and connected to grass-roots organizations, raising their voices, largely in opposition to the pipeline project. Their concerns center on safety, including the proximity to densely populated neighborhoods, schools and senior centers.

“This is just the first step,” Farrell said. “As much as this has been a long haul, it’s a stellar achievement by our citizens and legislators. This is the first step to make a real difference. When a collective community works together, things happen.”

“This is the most amazing, dedicated and organized group I’ve seen in 30 years of public service,” Dinniman said.

State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-156, is also meeting with stakeholders next week.

“I’m pleased that the administration is responding to the violations and safety concerns that have been raised by so many people, however, we still don’t a have a risk assessment and it’s essential that it happens,” Comitta said. “This is a step that needs to be done.”

Farrell pointed to a letter that Dinniman wrote to the governor asking him to pull the plug on pipeline construction. After that letter was posted, other legislators decided to fight pipeline construction.

Dinniman isn’t getting complacent.

“While we certainly appreciate the actions of the governor taken thus far, much needs to be done in term of public safety,” Dinniman said. “We need to go even further in terms of protecting the health and safety of residents.”

State Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, and state Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, Thursday joined the chorus of voices stressing public safety following the DEP action to suspend construction.

“From the beginning of this regulatory process, we have insisted that the job creation and energy development that come from this project must not occur at the cost of health, safety or protecting the environment,” their statement said.

“We still believe that the economic benefits can co-exist with safety and environmental protection, but this pause ordered by DEP seems necessary to ensure that this occurs. It is critical that Sunoco Pipeline LP follow all permit conditions.

“Pennsylvania can be a leader in natural gas development, but we must get it right. That is why we are co-sponsoring several bills to ensure pipeline safety across Pennsylvania and hold pipeline owners accountable if anything goes wrong.”

McGarrigle and Killion are co-sponsors of legislation that would:

• Strengthen the pipeline siting review process.

• Require pipeline operators to conduct proper studies of aquifers that may be impacted by construction.

• Make owners and operators of pipelines liable for contaminating water supplies.

• Establish notification requirements for residents impacted by pipeline construction.

• Ensure pipeline construction in densely populated regions includes automatic or remote control safety valves.

• Require pipeline companies to provide funding to support emergency responders.

• Improve communication and coordination between emergency management agencies and pipeline companies in the event of an emergency.
User avatar
By sandbagger2
#492938
County council OKs public call for risk assessment study on Mariner East 2 pipeline
By Kathleen E. Carey, Delaware County Daily Times
POSTED: 01/23/18, 8:55 PM EST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO 0 COMMENTS


MEDIA >> Delaware County Council has agreed to conduct a risk assessment study of the Mariner East pipelines coming through the county after 10 people asked them to do so at Tuesday’s agenda meeting.

Council has first agreed that over the next week, a committee including council Chairman John McBlain and Councilman Brian Zidek will outline parameters for the study to examine. Then, council members intend to authorize a request for a bid for a consultant to conduct a study of how the pipelines carrying natural gas liquids could impact the safety of county residents both during construction and afterwards.

Sunoco Pipeline is building a 350-mile pipeline from western Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook to transport ethane, butane and propane from the Marcellus Shale to port for local, regional and international distribution. The state Department of Environmental Protection shut down construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline earlier this month after it cited the company for drilling without proper permitting near Harrisburg.

On Tuesday, some residents approached council to ask them to do a risk assessment in Delaware County.

“There is no example of a pipeline of that size with this sort of material running through a built-up area like our county,” George Alexander of Media said. “I think we in the county deserve to know better what we’re facing with this pipeline coming through.”

McBlain said such a study would be beneficial for first responders in planning how to prepare for any incident stemming from such a pipeline being situated in the county.

“I certainly support the idea that for our emergency services department, we can do more,” he said. “We can talk about finding the scope of a risk assessment ... I certainly would like to take a further look at that.”

Looking at the county reports of 2012 and 2015 that outlined applicable reuses for the site, Zidek said no due consideration was given to the risks of such development in either of these reports.

“I think it’s high time that Delaware County itself conduct a risk assessment study,” he said. “We do have the authority to do so.”

Sunoco Pipeline spokesman Jeffrey Shields issued a statement after the meeting upon hearing about Delaware County’s desire to conduct a risk analysis.

“The Mariner East pipeline project was thoroughly vetted over the past five years by the appropriate federal, state, and local agencies,” it said. “Thousands of miles of pipelines have been transporting natural gas, propane and other materials safely through our Pennsylvania communities for nearly 100 years. In fact, today, no fewer than 10 pipelines, ranging in size from 8- to 30-inches in diameter, are safely carrying natural gas and natural gas liquids like propane throughout Delaware County. They pass close to schools, hospitals, senior living facilities and homes.”

It continued, “We have been living with these pipelines safely for decades, and we know that pipelines are the safest way to transport petroleum products. That’s because analysis of risk is built into federal pipeline regulations through Integrity Management Plans, to increase safety in populated areas. This includes enhanced damage prevention programs, more frequent internal and external inspections, leak detection system enhancements and installation of automatic valves, all of which Sunoco Pipeline has done for Mariner East 2. In addition, Mariner East 2 exceeds federal safety regulations for pipeline thickness, depth and welding – the company inspects by X-ray 100 percent or our welds when regulations require only 10 percent ...

“We live and work here in Delaware County, and the safety of our neighbors, our workers and our friends is our most important task. All of these measures ensure that the Mariner East 2 pipeline will be built and operated safely for decades to come.”

At the meeting, residents voiced their concerns.

Eric Friedman of the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety said Sunoco has had more leaks than any other pipeline operator with 296 leaks in its pipeline since 2006.

“So, I don’t think the probability of a leak can be discounted and I think some assessment of the risk ... is warranted,” he said.

Eve Miari of Upper Providence said no governing authority is taking ownership of a risk study, many claiming its not their jurisdiction, from the governor to the state Department of Environmental Protection to the Public Utility Commission.

“We have a huge regulatory gap where no one at the federal or state level is looking out for the safety of the residents and you have an out-of-state corporation basically putting their pipeline through that regulatory hole,” she said.

Company officials have pointed to standards set through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, including additional regulations in high dense areas.

Others feel that more needs to be done, such as Miari, who explained she lives 3 miles from the pipeline but frequents sites such as Linvilla Orchards near it.

“This is not just a concern for people who have the pipeline going through their backyard,” she said. “It’s not in my backyard but it’s in our community and it’s a great concern for public safety.

“We really feel that the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Delaware County is jurisdictional to the county council and we ask you to do your due diligence,” Miari said.
User avatar
By eriknben10
#492939
I bet the pipeline is finished before the #322 expansion.
User avatar
By sandbagger2
#493000
Mariner East 2 Texts Raise Questions About Wolf Administration Roll in Permitting Process - link
Mariner East 2: Texts raise questions about Wolf administration role in permitting process
JANUARY 26, 2018 | 12:15 PM
BY SUSAN PHILLIPS AND JON HURDLE


Sunoco's work on the Mariner East 2 pipeline has been suspended by the Pennsylvania environmental protection department. This photo, taken Wednesday, shows a work area off Fallbrook Lane in Glen Mills, near Philadelphia.
KIMBERLY PAYNTER / WHYY

On Jan. 2, the Pennsylvania environmental protection department suspended work related to permits it issued for the Mariner East 2 pipeline. This photo shows a work area off Fallbrook Lane in Glen Mills, near Philadelphia.

A senior staffer for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf asked the state’s chief environmental regulator not to send letters to Sunoco detailing problems with its permit applications for a controversial pipeline project until the governor was updated, according to text messages obtained through a lawsuit.

The texts also show the official asking the state’s Department of Environmental Protection whether some deficiencies cited in Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 plans could “remain flexible for field adjustments.”

In February 2017, soon after the series of texts, DEP approved Sunoco’s permits with conditions. Some landowners and environmentalists say that Wolf injected political pressure into a decision that should be based solely on environmental standards. They say those standards and regulations were subverted to help Sunoco make its projected timeline on the project.

And, they say, the texts bolster their claims.

“I don’t know if there’s a smoking gun here but there sure is a lot of smoke,” said Eric Friedman, a Delaware County landowner who, along with his homeowner’s association, is battling Sunoco’s eminent domain taking.

Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott and a past DEP secretary say the messages show an exchange of information among government agencies that is routine for a project of this size and scope. The 20-inch diameter high pressure natural gas liquids line tunnels beneath 17 counties, cuts through 2,700 properties with a 50-foot right-of-way, and crosses more than 1,200 streams or wetlands. It’s expected to cost more than $2.5 billion.

“These texts merely show coordination of information and schedules,” Abbott wrote in an email. “They are not orders or direction but seeking productive government services.”

Friedman takes issue with a text he says shows a Sunoco lobbyist, referred to only as “McGinn,” but likely Joe McGinn of Sunoco Logistics, asking Wolf aide Yesenia Bane instead of DEP for a call on the status of the permits. Bane texted then-acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell:

“Where are we? McGinn is asking for a call.”

That text came amid several between Bane and McDonnell that occurred the day Sunoco was presented with a list of deficiencies regarding its permit applications.

Friedman said current issues surrounding construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project reflect a rushed permit review process. Earlier this month, DEP shut down all construction related to those permits after repeated violations resulted in lost or damaged drinking water sources, sink holes, unauthorized drilling, and polluted wetlands.
“It’s my view if you properly permitted the project and it complied with the laws of Pennsylvania these problems should not have happened,” Friedman said.

For pipeline opponents, another issue regarding the texts is that Bane is married to a gas industry lobbyist. StateImpact reported in December 2016 about Bane’s potential conflict of interest, and last month, a Chester County resident filed a complaint against her with the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission.

State Sen. Andy Dinniman, a Chester County Democrat and outspoken opponent of Mariner East 2, said it appears that Yesenia Bane had a conflict of interest and should not have been the person to communicate with DEP over the Mariner East 2 permits. Abbott, Wolf’s spokesman, said there was no conflict of interest.

Conversations with Sunoco
The texts surfaced as part of a lawsuit filed by the Clean Air Council, which filed a public records request for all written communications between Bane and McDonnell from Dec. 15, 2016 to Feb. 9, 2017, four days before the permits were issued. The DEP asked CAC to withdraw the request, and said its attorney would supply the information, according to Alex Bomstein, an attorney for CAC.

StateImpact received an email with the texts, and CAC confirmed they were the same ones it received from DEP’s lawyer.

Six pages of texts, through Dec. 15, are blacked out. Seven texts between Jan. 20 and Feb. 9 are blacked out.

The remaining messages between Bane and McDonnell don’t explicitly address approval or disapproval of Sunoco’s permits. But they raise questions about the role the Governor’s office played in the permitting process.

For example, on Feb. 1, an exchange includes Bane telling McDonnell she needs to know if a call “is being pushed back so I can let the gov know.”

McDonnell responds: “I say we keep the call. We can let him know the commitment to get things done.” Bane says she’ll let him know.

McDonnell adds, “If I need to talk to Mike 5 times a day for the next week, that’s what we will do.”

Bane responds, “Gov is aware but will not say any thing. This needs to be done by 1pm the latest. 6pm is not acceptable.”

The governor’s office says that exchange is in reference to a news release, but did not provide StateImpact with a copy of the release, and there is no news release on DEP’s website for Feb. 1, or even several days later.

In an exchange on Jan. 25, about three weeks before DEP issued the permits, the texts show Bane asking McDonnell not to send a deficiency letter to Sunoco “until we can get you to update mary/Gov.” McDonnell replies. “Understood. I really want to talk thru the permitting office too.”

Deficiency letters detail missing or incorrect information in a permit application, and typically advise the applicant on what steps need to be taken to protect the environment, drinking water sources and cultural heritage sites before gaining permission to begin construction on a project.

StateImpact could not confirm who “Mike” and “Mary” are in those separate exchanges.

Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields characterizes the texts as the normal exchange of information between government and company officials — “Nothing more than that.” He has said the company goes “above and beyond” state and federal safety regulations, and is building the pipeline under “stringent” environmental regulations.

DEP spokesman Neil Shader said that Wolf wanted to be kept up to date because he needed to be able to respond to inquiries from Sunoco, legislators, environmental groups and others.

Similarly, David Hess, who was DEP Secretary under Republican Governors Ridge and Schweiker from 2001 to 2003, told StateImpact that the texts contain no evidence that the governor’s office pressured DEP to issue the permits.

The governor’s office, he said, would “want to know what’s going on so [the governor] isn’t blindsided by press or the company or someone asking him about what’s going on with the permits. I don’t see a lot of unusual activity here.”

But Joe Minott, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council, doesn’t buy it. He says the texts show a level of involvement by the governor’s office that ”goes way beyond” DEP keeping the governor’s office updated.

“You have the governor’s staff meeting with Sunoco and DEP, you have the governor’s staff telling DEP not to move forward in taking actions until Governor’s Office is fully informed,” he said.

Sen. Dinniman, who has called for a halt to drilling, and has read the texts, says he doesn’t know whether they show undue pressure from the Governor’s office.

“I have no idea to be honest with you,” Dinniman told StateImpact. “But based on how lenient the initial permit process was, and based on what is now being said about construction, … and based on the fact that it took six months of us talking to DEP about environmental issues before halting construction, it’s worth asking the question.”
User avatar
By sandbagger2
#493270
Editorial: Risk-y business: Pipeline study hits a new snag
PETE BANNAN – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA
POSTED: 02/01/18, 8:18 PM EST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO 0 COMMENTS

This is the Mariner East 2 version of Groundhog Day. Or at least for that much-desired risk assessment study that opponents of this massive project have been seeking now for months.

Any number of citizen groups have been seeking to have one done. At one point Middletown Council actually decided to do one. Elected officials have beseeched Gov. Tom Wolf to do one. Those calls have been met for the most part by silence.

Last week a group of citizens – many of whom have seen this behemoth cut through their neighborhoods – asked Delaware County Council to perform a risk assessment study on Mariner East 2.

The thought process has not changed, at least among those opposed to this $2.5 billion project. They believe this plan, pushing hundreds of thousands of barrels of volatile material such as ethane, propane and butane under high pressure from the Marcellus Shale region across the entire width of Pennsylvania – including big swaths of Delaware and Chester counties – is not such a swell idea.

They have heard the proponents’ talk about the economic impact of the project, and they remain steadfast, wondering if whatever economic gain is derived is worth the risk of putting this pipeline into densely populated neighborhoods, next to schools and senior centers.

Last week County Council gave the initial OK for a risk assessment study.

Wednesday, they woke up and apparently saw their shadow, predicting another delay in any study of the plan.

You can put those corks back in the bottles celebrating a big win for critics of Mariner East 2. Council tabled any decision, at least for another week.

In giving their initial OK last week, Council set up a committee including Republican Chairman John McBlain and new Democratic Councilman Brian Zidek to lay out the parameters of a risk assessment study.

Wednesday they returned to report their findings to the rest of Council, and that’s when things bogged down.

Chairman McBlain, who has made clear his position supporting the pipeline, suggested simply expanding on some of the studies that have already been performed by the county’s Local Emergency Planning Committee.

That didn’t sit all that well with Zidek, who has not taken a position one way or the other in terms of Mariner East 2. He questioned the depth of the study performed by the LEPC and doubted that findings from such a group likely would not ease the public’s concerns about the project, especially since so many members have strong ties to the pipeline.

But of course this didn’t end there.

The Democrat felt the need to point out McBlain’s legal ties to Sunoco, whose parent company Energy Transfer Partners is constructing the pipeline through their Sunoco Pipeline LP affiliate.

As you might expect, that didn’t sit especially well with McBlain, who pointed out that while his firm, made up of more than 100 attorneys, has represented Suncoo, he personally has never done any legal work for them. Then he fired back that he understands that Zidek is distrustful of the local committee and county government in general and the Democrat no doubt would love to “set up a different commission, made up partly of special-interest groups that are your supporters.”

Get used to it, folks. This is likely the way county government is going to work at this point, now that Zidek and fellow Democrat Kevin Madden have brought two-party government to what was the uniformity of one 5-0 vote after another through decades of all-Republican rule.

There was one more surprise at Wednesday’s council meeting. The vote to table the motion, instead of adopting McBlain’s plan, was 3-2. Republican Councilman Michael Culp sided with McBlain. But fellow Republican Colleen Morrone did something you don’t see every day – at least not in the Media Courthouse. She sided with the Democrats.

“I think there’s a little more discussion that can enhance a recommendation to make sure we’ve addressed this properly,” Morrone said. “I think we’re very close to it.”

Let’s hope so.

Because the bickering doesn’t change the angst, unease and concerns of those opposed to the pipeline.

Let’s keep one thing clear. No one asked for this project to come into their neighborhood. After winning a crucial court ruling that granted it public utility status, Sunoco went about acquiring property in a way that was contiguous with the existing pipeline, one by the way that is already in operation carrying exactly the same materials destined to flow through Mariner East 2, albeit in smaller quantities.

No one asked residents if putting this right next to Glenwood Elementary School in Middletown was a good idea. Or through heavily populated areas. Or right by several senior living centers. The state actually does not even have a panel that reviews siting for such projects.

No one at the state level seemed to think a risk assessment might be a good idea before giving the green light to this project. That much was made clear in the recent request from Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19 of West Whiteland, one of the most critical voices when it comes to the way the state has handled this project, for just such a state study.

Council will take another shot at signing off on the risk assessment study next week.

We hope they do. It’s not Republican or Democratic.

It’s the right thing to do.
User avatar
By sandbagger2
#493330
Dinniman: Sunoco Appeals DEP Suspension, Donations Pour in for Risk Assessment of Mariner East II
on FEBRUARY 5, 2018


WEST CHESTER (February 5, 2018) – State Senator Andy Dinniman said today that residents’ plans to obtain an independent risk assessment of Sunoco’s Mariner East II pipeline are moving forward.

“Residents impacted by the pipeline and members of local and regional citizens groups have really hit the ground running on this,” Dinniman said. “There’s much more work ahead, but thanks to the efforts of so many, we’ve already made great progress in only a short time.”

The group has developed criteria for the independent risk assessment, begun reaching out to companies in preparation for soliciting bids, and raised more than $12,000 in just over a week’s time. Those interested in donating can do so at https://www.gofundme.com/citizens039-ri ... ent-of-me2.

Meanwhile, Sunoco Logistics is appealing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) order suspending construction of the Mariner East II Pipeline, according to news reports.

On Jan. 3, DEP issued an order suspending Sunoco Logistics’ permits for the Mariner East II Pipeline until several environmental issues are satisfied.

On Feb. 2, Sunoco filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, claiming DEP overstepped its authority and mischaracterized its drilling techniques in the order.

Dinniman said this latest news is just more of the same from a company that looks like it would rather fight in court, then take commonsense steps to ensure public and environmental safety.

“Sunoco has been a bully throughout this process and we don’t expect that change now,” Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said. “But our group remains undeterred. We’re moving forward and we won’t be backing down either.”

While the DEP suspension order finally addresses some of the environmental issues that have been raised for six months or more, it does not account for the serious and growing public safety concerns regarding the proximity of the pipeline to schools, daycare facilities, parks, libraries, and senior living communities.

In light of the lack of an independent risk assessment on the project, Dinniman helped bring together members of various community pipeline safety groups including, the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety, the Uwchlan Safety Coalition, Upper Uwchlan Residents for Safety, Del Chesco United for Pipeline Safety, Protect Penn-Delco, East Goshen Safety and Environmental Advocates, Goshen United for Public Safety, West Whiteland Residents for Public Safety, Food and Water Watch, and the Chester County Sierra Club.

“There is no question that an independent risk assessment of this project is sorely needed. Despite our multiple requests, the DEP, the Public Utility Commission (PUC), and the governor’s office seem either unable or unwilling to do it. So, we have no choice but to move ahead on our own,” Dinniman said.

He said also the group’s initial progress is a testament to the importance of the issue of pipeline safety and that, according to organizers, donations continue to pour in from throughout the region and the state.

“I’m confident that we’ll reach our goal and succeed where government agencies are falling short in meeting their constitutional duty to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens,” he said. “We’ve built a very well-organized and well-informed coalition of committed individuals who are dedicated to seeing this through for the sake of their communities, families, and children.”

Future meetings are currently being planned. Those interested in participating should contact Don Vymazal of Senator Dinniman’s office at dvymazal@pasenate.com or (610) 692-2112.
User avatar
By eriknben10
#493331
Appears the new pipeline is generating unexpected jobs. I'm sure they didn't figure all the litigation jobs created by constructing a pipeline. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
User avatar
By sandbagger2
#493333
eriknben10 wrote:Appears the new pipeline is generating unexpected jobs. I'm sure they didn't figure all the litigation jobs created by constructing a pipeline. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Don't forget all the workers that they've had to use to clean up the messes they've been making too. :twisted:
User avatar
By eriknben10
#493334
From my conversations with the men working on it the cleanups happen regularly. My guess would be that was figured in. :wink:
  • 1
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27