A visit to Mariner East 2 pipeline
To the Times: On this Earth Day, my son and I visited some local residents and activists to take a tour of the Mariner East 2 pipeline and see the very real impact this project has had on the land and the people of this district.
The pipeline has forced risk on anyone living, working, or studying along its 350 miles. Whether it’s at Glenwood Elementary, where many parents are thinking about changing schools to protect their children, or in the residential communities where many homeowners have had to find alternative drinking water due to damaged wells. They are rightfully concerned about the very real risks associated with having a high-pressure, hazardous liquids pipeline close to their homes and schools. It has taken away property rights, destroyed property values and caused widespread fear among the residents of the area.
Although there has been talk from both Sunoco and government officials about the economic benefit of this project to the people of this district, there has been little discussion of the significant cost. There is no denying that jobs have been created, but this benefit does not outweigh the loss of property value, loss of property tax revenue, and the various other economic and social costs associated with the construction and the operation of this project.
Sunoco has a record of 300 spills of hazardous liquids since 2006, more than any other pipeline operator tracked by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Residents of this district are understandably fearful of the potential catastrophic risks that would jeopardize the health and safety of their families. There are at least 40 schools located within dangerous proximity to the pipeline and in the event of a leak, breach or explosion there are not adequate notification systems or satisfactory measures in place to ensure the safety of our children.
The fears caused by the Mariner East 2 pipeline are very real and Gov. Tom Wolf should order an immediate independent risk assessment on its construction and operation in order to adequately understand how our community will be affected.
I support local candidates and activists who understand the dangers of the pipeline and are willing to take action. I have taken the pledge to not accept donations from the fossil fuel industry, thereby avoiding any potential conflicts of interest. The safety and security of our residents should always be our highest priority, and when I am elected to Congress, it will be mine. The people of Pennsylvania deserve a government that works for them, not against them, on Earth day, and every day.