Middletown Residents Seek Enforcement of Municipal Zoning Ordinances with Respect to Sunoco's Pr
MIDDLETOWN COALITION FOR COMMUNITY SAFETY
For Immediate Release
Middletown Coalition for Community Safety (MCCS) Media
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MIDDLETOWN RESIDENTS SEEK ENFORCEMENT OF MUNICIPAL ZONING ORDINANCES WITH RESPECT TO SUNOCO’S PROPOSED MARINER EAST PIPELINES
MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, PA –May 5, 2017. Six Middletown residents on Friday filed a complaint in Delaware County Court of Common Pleas seeking enforcement of a section of The Middletown Township Code which provides in part that “in no case shall there be a distance of less than 75 feet
between a dwelling unit and a petroleum or petroleum products transmission line.”
The Code also states that such lines must be “installed in the center of the easement.”
Sunoco has proposed to construct its so-called Mariner East 2 (ME2) hazardous, highly volatile liquids pipelines at distances of less than 75 feet from dwelling units in six locations in Middletown, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs also contend that the pipelines will not be installed at the center of the easements.
Michael Bomstein of Pinnola & Bomstein, counsel for the plaintiffs, said “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has affirmed in the Robinson Township series of cases that Pennsylvania municipalities have the authority to adopt and enforce ordinances to protect their residents from hazardous industrial operations. Unfortunately, Middletown Council has failed to seek enforcement of its own ordinances, leading to this complaint.”
The six plaintiffs, Meghan Flynn, Gina Soscia, James Fishwick, Glenn Jacobs, Glenn Kasper and Alison L. Higgins, note in their complaint that the ordinance they seek enforcement of was adopted more than fifty years ago, long before defendant Sunoco’s announcement of its Mariner East project. Sunoco proposes to construct its pipelines through Middletown in order to transport for export “natural gas liquids, which are gases that have been liquefied under high pressure. If released to the atmosphere, they return to gaseous form, in which they are colorless, odorless, heavier than air, and extremely flammable or explosive. Sunoco has reported leaking these materials three separate times in the last year from the so-called “Mariner East 1” pipeline, which follows much of the same route as ME2, most recently on April 1, 2017 in Morgantown, Pennsylvania. A recent report conducted for MCCS by Quest Consultants indicated that, under one particular set of atmospheric conditions, a delayed-ignition event in an NGL vapor cloud could produce blast damage 1,800 feet from the point of release.
Plaintiffs in this case have referred questions to their attorneys and to MCCS.
The Middletown Coalition for Community Safety is a nonpartisan, fact-based, grassroots organization of concerned Pennsylvanians. Despite its name, the Coalition stretches across our Commonwealth. Our mission is to unite people through education and to encourage our elected officials to make informed policy decisions for the safety and well-being of our communities.