Sunoco responds to pipeline concerns
WEST CHESTER » In wake of Wednesday’s safety meeting, Jeff Shields, Sunoco Pipeline communications manager, released the following statement:
We understand that the safety of the community is our first responsibility. We are building a safe pipeline, under the strict federal safety regulations that are enforced by both the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Sunoco has incorporated additional processes in excess of minimum federal pipeline safety regulations that should assure the safety of this proposal across the Township,” according to a report filed by Richard Kuprewicz, president of Accufacts and an expert hired by West Goshen Township.
While the report looks specifically at West Goshen Township, Accufacts also examined Sunoco Logistics’ practices throughout the system in key areas. Regarding welding, for instance, federal regulations call for at least 10 percent of pipeline girth welds to be x-rayed, “the gold standard” in assessing the integrity of these welds. Sunoco Logistics x-rays 100 percent.
Other areas in which Sunoco Logistics exceed federal regulations include:
• Integrity Testing (Sunoco Pipeline plans for testing the Mariner East 2 pipeline before it is placed in service)
• Pump station design
• Pipeline monitoring
• Release detection
• Emergency notification Regarding a safety plan, we have required spill response plans that are approved by and filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. We work closely with County Emergency Services across the state to coordinate responses at the county and municipal levels.
Because Sunoco Pipeline does not have the authority to evacuate anyone, we consult with local emergency responders before the pipeline is operational, and offer training sessions to them, to help them develop their own notification and response plans, including evacuation. Those individual plans tend to take into account all possible hazards, because plans need to be broad and flexible enough to be applied to variety of situations. If you speak with your local first responders and emergency response folks, they should verify these facts.
In an emergency, our trained incident command teams would immediately respond, connect with local responders, and provide them information so they can decide the best course of action depending on weather conditions, nature of the emergency, and other variables.
We also know from talking to first responders that they regard pipelines as the safest way to transport petroleum products (which do include propane, butane and ethane).
Natural gas liquids are not new to Chester County. In addition to the Mariner East 1 line, which has been operating with NGLs since the end of 2014, there is another company’s propane pipeline that has been running safely through Chester and Delaware County for decades. That’s in addition to a dozen natural gas pipelines of similar size to, or significantly larger than, the Mariner East 2 pipelines, that have been operating safely through populated areas, again, for decades. We have been transporting NGLs safely for more than 50 years.
We will build a safe pipeline.