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Time to Press Pause on Dangerous Mariner East Pipelines

Did you know that, right now, there is a LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS pipeline being installed through suburban Philadelphia? Did you know that despite being many times more dangerous than typical Natural Gas (Methane), it has been routed through densely populated neighborhoods with NO ROUTE OVERSIGHT? Did you know that Governor Wolf and many PA representatives and senators blindly support this ill-conceived pipeline and have pushed it through via eminent domain, and despite incomplete permit applications, without bothering to understand, let alone quantify the risks a liquefied natural gas pipeline presents to public safety?

Sunoco Logistics’ proposed Mariner East pipelines, if installed, would carry artificially liquefied ethane, propane, and butane. These are highly condensed, volatile gaseous fuels with at least 5 times the explosive energy by volume compared to typical methane Natural Gas. Of course butane is added to gasoline to refine it to make it easier to ignite:

That this is even possible in such densely populated areas, where a rupture could literally kill a thousand people and wipe out entire communities, should be extremely concerning to everyone. One would think that it would be obvious, given the above facts, for Sunoco and our state and local governments to quantify the risk they all want us to take with open arms.

Well guess what…Every single leader at the state and local level decided to look the other way. They chose not to quantify the risks. They chose to put this train on the tracks so everyone could start sniffing their piece of the pie. Not only that, but they have allowed the project to progess with no emergency plan in place despite the fact that the 20in diameter Mariner East 2 would contain Hiroshima-level energy between 8-mile valve stations.

You hear excuses like jobs or energy or economic boom. The truth is that there are many projects that would bring much more economic boom than this one that are never allowed to see the light of day because they pose a clear and present danger to society. This Mariner East project is one that should have been stopped before anyone even thought about positive benefits.

The reasons are simple:

A) The consequences of a leak of this artificially liquefied natural gas pipeline are astronomical. There is over 15 kilotons TNT energy (Hiroshima equivalent) within the 8 mile segment between valve stations.

B) The pipeline's liquids designation that gives much of the oversight to the states coupled with severe under-regulation of pipelines in PA has made it possible and even encouraged for Sunoco to use existing right of way designated for petroleum. This is an extremely irresponsible route for an NGL pipeline through many densely populated areas of the state that simply would not be allowed if the state actually had a siting authority.

C) Sunoco and parent company Energy Transfer Partners have the worst leak record in industry, averaging over 2 leaks per month for the past 10 years. They have only been operating NGL pipelines in PA for 3 years, and cannot be trusted to do so safely.

Is this unprecedented liquefied natural gas pipeline worth the risk? No one has quantified it, so how do we know? What we do know is there is far too much at stake to let this continue without throwing a flag on the play.

It is time for all Pennsylvanians to come together and tell Governor Wolf to PRESS THE PAUSE BUTTON the Mariner East pipeline project until the route has been assessed and the risks quantified with regard to public safety.

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