Con­cern grows over Sunoco pipe­line plan

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Rick Kauff­man rkauff­man@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Kauf­fee_DT on Twit­ter

MID­DLE­TOWN >> Of the ap­prox­i­mately 350 miles planned in the Mariner East Pro­ject pipe­line that spans in Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia and West Vir­ginia, the 11.4 miles that run through Delaware County might be the most cru­cial.

With the prom­ise of nearly 30,000 jobs with all union work­ers con­duct­ing the work­ing on the fa­cil­ity and build­ing the pipe­line, the eco­nomic im­pact has been fa­vor­ably viewed for work­ers in Delaware County. How­ever, on Mon­day a lo­cal Se­nate-hope­ful aimed to give voice to res­i­dents who have grow­ing con­cerns over en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

“Com­ing this close to a school where some of your kids might go to is not OK,” said Marty Mol­loy, of Nether Prov­i­dence, who was un­der pres­sure at a cam­paign event Mon­day by mem­bers of the In­ter­na­tional Brother­hood of Elec­tri­cal Work­ers Lo­cal 654 and the Penn­syl­va­nia En­ergy In­fra­struc­ture Al­liance.

“I’m ask­ing us to slow the process down so we can be thought­ful about pub­lic safety,” Mol­loy said.

Mol­loy is the chal­lenger to state Sen. Tom Kil­lion, R-9, of Mid­dle­town. Mol­loy was de­feated by Kil­lion in an April spe­cial elec­tion for the seat va­cated by Do­minic Pi­leggi.

Pete Peter­son, the Kil­lion cam­paign spokesman, said the se­na­tor has taken an in­ter­est in hear­ing from con­cerned res­i­dents.

“Tom has been re­spon­sive to res­i­dents and has been touch­ing base with reg­u­la­tory ad­min­is­tra­tions over the course of the last sev­eral months,” Peter­son said. “We want to take a look at all the lay­ers of over­sight and hear from first re­spon­ders to see what else needs to be done.”

Mol­loy felt push­back Mon­day by union mem­bers who sup­port of the pipe­line pro­ject, which he con­tends needs more over­sight.

“This isn’t just about get­ting the pipe in the ground,

this is about get­ting it in the ground safely, en­vi­ron­men­tally safely, but then what hap­pens next?” asked Mol­loy.

Via the fa­cil­ity in Mar­cus Hook, the $3 bil­lion Sunoco Lo­gis­tics Mariner East 1 pro­ject re­pur­posed the 1930s oil pipe­line to carry nat­u­ral gas liq­uids — propane and eth­ane — where it is pro­cessed, pro­cessed, stored and dis­trib­uted to lo­cal, do­mes­tic and wa­ter­borne mar­kets.

With the pro­posed Mariner East 2 pipe­line, which will run par­al­lel to the ex­ist­ing line, the new pipe­line will ex­pand the to­tal take­away ca­pac­ity to 345 thou­sand bar­rels per day for in­ter­state

and in­trastate propane, eth­ane and bu­tane ser­vice.

Cur­rently, Sunoco Lo­gis­tics, which is head­quar­tered in New­town Square, is go­ing through a per­mit process with the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, which Pub­lic Af­fairs Man­ager Joe McGinn said was con­tained in a 30,000-page doc­u­ment.

“We’re still in the mid­dle of the tech­ni­cal re­view, which af­ter the DEP goes through pub­lic com­ment is re­viewed by three dif­fer­ent re­gional of­fices,” McGinn said.

The con­cern is that since Sunoco Lo­gis­tics re­cently cleared a hur­dle that en­abled the gas sup­plier the rights of a pub­lic util­ity — the Penn­syl­va­nia Com­mon­wealth Court voted 5-2 in July — grant­ing them the

author­ity to en­act em­i­nent do­main on prop­er­ties that don’t agree to de­vel­op­ment pro­pos­als.

And while Sunoco Lo­gis­tics con­tin­ues the process for Chap­ter 102 and Chap­ter 105 per­mits from the DEP, which ac­count for earth dis­tur­bances and for the cross­ing of wa­ter­ways and wet­lands, the fear is that peo­ple might sign ease­ments that en­able for more than they bar­gained.

“Frankly they shouldn’t be ap­proach­ing peo­ple with ease­ments with­out the per­mits,” said Lynda Far­rell of the Pipe­line Safety Coali­tion. “Peo­ple might be sign­ing away ease­ments that may not be nec­es­sary.”

While McGinn said that much of the process has been work­ing con­cur­rently, for ex­am­ple, the per­mits are be­ing pro­cessed as the

ease­ments are be­ing ob­tained, he said that the Mariner East 2 pipe­line will be placed along­side ex­ist­ing pipe­lines. McGinn said 90 per­cent of the pipe­line would be in par­al­lel lines.

“With an ease­ment, each one is spe­cific to a prop­erty owner and we’re ac­quir­ing ease­ments specif­i­cally for pipe­lines car­ry­ing hy­dro­car­bons,” McGinn said. “It spec­i­fies an en­try point and a work area.”

How­ever, in look­ing at the map of the pro­posed Mariner East 2 pipe­line, the ma­jor­ity of the 11.4 miles that run through Delaware County — specif­i­cally along Ch­ester Creek up through Mid­dle­town — the lines are sep­a­rate, with the new pipe­line split­ting in Ch­ester Town­ship and re­join­ing west of Lima.

Of that new con­struc­tion,

there is a con­tin­gent of con­cerned par­ents from Glen­wood El­e­men­tary School who are con­cerned with the planned Mariner East 2 com­ing within 650 feet of the school.

Call­ing Sunoco “the worst safety record in the in­dus­try,” the par­ents and res­i­dents of the formed Mid­dle­town Coali­tion for Com­mu­nity Safety who com­mis­sioned an in­de­pen­dent risk as­sess­ment study cen­tered on Glen­wood El­e­men­tary and were plan­ning to re­lease the re­sults of the find­ings Mon­day night.

“Given the densely pop­u­lated na­ture of the area, and close prox­im­ity of the pro­posed pipe­line to pri­vate res­i­dences, schools, day care, geri­atric and as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties, Sunoco’s plan is im­pos­si­bly im­prac­ti­cal and in­sanely reck­less,”

said the MCCS in a state­ment.

How­ever, mem­bers of the Penn­syl­va­nia En­ergy In­fra­struc­ture Al­liance were quick to re­spond to those claims. Bill Adams, pres­i­dent of the Lo­cal 654 branch of the In­ter­na­tional Brother­hood of Elec­tri­cal Work­ers and An­thony Gal­lagher, the busi­ness man­ager for the Plum­bers and Steam­fit­ters Lo­cal 420, said that safety was the No. 1 pri­or­ity of build­ing the pipe­line, and the 30,000 po­ten­tial jobs should not be over­looked.

“Sunoco Lo­gis­tics Mariner East 2 will be built with state of the art tech­nol­ogy to en­sure the high­est re­gard for safety of the com­mu­ni­ties it runs through,” Adams said.

The Mariner East 2 has a pro­jected start date of first quar­ter 2017.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Pic­tured is a me­ter­ing sta­tion for the Mariner East 1 pipe­line.

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