• Danielle Friel Otten

Why #DefendWhatYouLove?


Pennsylvania is one of 2 states in the U.S. (Alaska is the other) that currently has no siting authority for pipeline infrastructure.

Pennsylvania is the number 2 producer in the U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Industry second to Texas as a result of the Marcellus Shale gas boom.

Why #DefendWhatYouLove?

I waited a long time to have the life that I have today. I struggled through many challenges and at some very low moments never imagined that God had such a wonderful gift in store for me, first in finding John and then in our 2 incredible children and our precious life together.

When John and I met, he was so proud of the home that he had painstakingly searched for, purchased on his own, literally gutted and renovated just about every inch (okay, okay he STILL hasn’t finished the siding) to make it his own. He excavated the backyard to make it perfectly flat and a picturesque scene for our someday family and the pool that we might someday build. I still laugh at the night that he blasted the stereo and while I was sending out invitations to our holiday party, he took a sledgehammer to the outdated brick fireplace, promising to have it complete in just 4 weeks for our party. Needless to say, I put a huge vintage Santa in front of the hole for the party and eventually (over a year later), we had a gorgeous Pennsylvania Fieldstone fireplace and a bright new family room with a new walk out patio.

I moved in when we got engaged and from the very beginning, we never once discussed the possibility of moving. There was no question, this was going to be our forever home. Our kids would go to school right up the street in one of the top districts in the state. They would play sports at the LYA fields right down the road. Our next home purchase would be our retirement townhome in PA to stay close to our family and our condo in Arizona to escape the winter blues.

Over the last 3 years, because of Pennsylvania’s weak oversight of oil and natural gas industry and infrastructure that our government touts as the future of PA’s economy, John and I are faced with crushed dreams, sleepless nights and the choice of safety for our family over the home that we love and have made our own. Because our government continues to fail at accountability and safety, John and I are being forced to change our conversations from planning for a pool and instead searching for where we can go to be safe from this fracking boom. Sadly, in Pennsylvania, it’s a free for all for pipeline operators, all to ship 95% of the product on ships (get it, Mariner?) to Scotland to make plastics. Single use plastics are the number one component of marine debris/pollution.

(The rest of this is borrowed from another concerned constituent)

As the courts continue to decide on the efficacy of the Mariner East II project, there are a few key principles we should all be able to agree on:

According the Pennsylvania State Constitution, “The people have a right to clean air, pure water and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.” and our elected officials have taken an oath to uphold the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Responsible pipeline and infrastructure safety and siting involves sufficient setbacks to avoid unwise placement of high-pressure large diameter gas transmission pipelines in and near “high consequence” areas.

The best emergency preparedness plans are proactive plans that include interagency communication, transparency, risk assessment, adhering to sufficient setbacks in order to prevent potential catastrophic events. While PUC Confidential Security Information Disclosure Protection Act was passed after 9/11 with the intent to protect information from getting into the wrong hands; it overreaches and restricts sharing of certain information between agencies, an unintended consequence and should be revised.

In addition to the above, as outlined in the Governor’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force in 201 5-16, Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure planning would benefit from the following:

  • Improve public participation and the communication of information relating to the planning, construction and/or maintenance of existing and new pipelines.

  • Ensure state and local leaders are educated and equipped with the resources needed to manage new and existing pipeline infrastructure and emergencies.

  • Advance the safety and protection of our communities and the environment with effective inspections. “smart planning” and quality assurance.

It is our responsibility to stand up for our families and our communities and protect their safety and well-being. This isn't about politics but rather doing what is right. As Pennsylvanians, we work hard everyday to, as Governor Tom Wolf says, “provide the life that we want” for our families and the last thing we should ever have to do is worry about whether a for profit company will take our land, our water and our peace of mind, assisted by our government.

Part of Uwchlan Safety Coalition's #defendwhatyoulove Facebook social media challenge

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