Law­mak­ers im­plored to beef up pipe­line safety regs

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Les­lie Krowchenko

HARRISBURG >> When Bib­ianna Dus­sling ad­dressed the state Sen­ate and House Vet­er­ans Af­fairs & Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness Com­mit­tees Wed­nes­day, she was not talk­ing as a vet­eran naval avi­a­tor and safety and emer­gency pre­pared­ness of­fi­cer.

She was speak­ing as a mom.

Dus­sling served as the chief spokesper­son for Mid­dle­town Coali­tion for Com­mu­nity Safety to re­view statewide emer­gency pre­pared­ness and re­sponse mea­sures for the nat­u­ral gas/petroleum pipe­line in­fra­struc­ture. The or­ga­ni­za­tion was present in re­sponse to the pro­posed Sunoco Lo­gis­tics Mariner 2 pipe­line, a por­tion of which is slated to run be­neath a road ap­prox­i­mately 625 feet from the Glen­wood El­e­men­tary School play­ground in the Rose Tree Me­dia School District.

“My daugh­ter is a first­grader at Glen­wood and I try not to imag­ine what could hap­pen to her smil­ing face if there was an emer­gency,” said Dus­sling. “We need your leg­isla­tive ac­tion.”

Span­ning Penn­syl­va­nia, West Vir­ginia and Ohio, Mariner 2 is a 350-mile pipe­line sys­tem which would bring nat­u­ral gas liq­uids such as propane, eth­ane and bu­tane to the Mar­cus Hook In­dus­trial Com­plex. Ap­prox­i­mately 11.4 miles

Sunoco Lo­gis­tics re­cently asked the state De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion for a one-month ex­ten­sion to com­plete its re­sponse to iden­ti­fied is­sues in the pipe­line ap­pli­ca­tion pack­age. A com­pany spokesper­son in­di­cated the com­ple­tion and start-up date for the project will be delayed from mid2017 to the third quar­ter of the year.

The hear­ing was con­ducted by com­mit­tee chairs state Sen. Randy Vu­lakovich, R-38 of Al­legheny County, and state Rep. Steve Bar­rar, R-160 of Up­per Chich­ester, and the lat­ter noted it was the result of the ef­forts of state Sen. Tom Kil­lion, R-9 of Mid­dle­town, and state Reps. Chris Quinn, R-168 of Mid­dle­town, and Dan Truitt, R-156, of East Goshen. They

were joined by state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161 of Swarth­more, and a num­ber of other Gen­eral As­sem­bly mem­bers for the three and a-half hour hear­ing.

Pan­els com­posed of the pipe­line op­er­a­tor, in­stallers, reg­u­la­tors in­clud­ing the state Pub­lic Util­ity Com­mis­sion and DEP, emer­gency re­spon­ders from Ly­coming County and the state Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency and Delaware County res­i­dents ad­dressed spe­cific is­sues. The tes­ti­mony fo­cused on ex­am­in­ing the scope of the cur­rent state reg­u­la­tions and de­ter­min­ing if any ad­di­tional pre­cau­tions are needed.

Joe McGinn, Sunoco Lo­gis­tics se­nior manager of pub­lic af­fairs, who said safety is a “hall­mark prin­ci­pal” of the com­pany, noted its pipe­lines through­out the state and na­tion are sit­u­ated near mu­nic­i­pal build­ings, schools, hos­pi­tals, parks and shop­ping cen­ters. He added the sys­tems are mon­i­tored 24/7 for pres­sure, tem­per­a­ture and flow and, if nec­es­sary, can be shut down re­motely. Train­ing ses­sions with lo­cal first re­spon­ders have been held in the 17 coun­ties where Mariner runs.

In re­sponse to Kil­lion’s ques­tion re­gard­ing the time­frame for evac­u­a­tion in case of an emer­gency, McGinn said the sys­tem is checked by hu­man and au­to­matic con­trols.

“As soon as a leak was de­tected, the process would be­gin im­me­di­ately,” he added. “The process to com­pletely shut it down would take a cou­ple of min­utes.”

The Mid­ddle­town coali­tion funded an in­de­pen­dent risk as­sess­ment and Dus­sling pre­sented its find­ings re­gard­ing emer­gency pre­pared­ness, reg­u­la­tory is­sues and the com­pany’s safety record. Rose Tree Me­dia Su­per­in­ten­dent Jim Wigo, speak­ing on be­half of the more than 2,500 stu­dents and 350 staff mem­bers in the district, said he had “two asks” – re­view­ing the sys­tem for ad­di­tional safety stan­dards and tight­en­ing reg­u­la­tions at the lo­cal and state level.

Joe McGinn, Sunoco Lo­gis­tics se­nior manager of pub­lic af­fairs, who said safety is a “hall­mark prin­ci­pal” of the com­pany, noted its pipe­lines through­out the state and na­tion are sit­u­ated near mu­nic­i­pal build­ings, schools, hos­pi­tals, parks and shop­ping cen­ters.

Bar­rar noted the Leg­is­la­ture is in the process of rewrit­ing the state emer­gency man­age­ment code, a project slated for the be­gin­ning of the year.

“I want to thank all of you for your pro­fes­sion­al­ism,” he said. “We will in­cor­po­rate some of the ideas voiced to­day and those in ad­di­tional hear­ings.”

DIGITIAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

The Mariner 2 pipe­line would end at the Sunoco Lo­gis­tics re­fin­ery in Mar­cus Hook.

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