Follow the Leader: The Extreme Hazards of Delco's Single Party Politics

There is a big elephant in Delaware County. The county tried to do something great by attempting to revitalize the defunct Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook. They had an independent market study done to examine alternative uses for the industrial complex. The market study came back with options. The intentions were good.

The decision to repurpose Marcus Hook as a storage and export facility for so called Natural Gas Liquids absolutely required debate. It required independent technical input. However, with every decision maker along the route “in alignment”, little due diligence was done to consider something as basic as public safety.

As a result, the project was put on a set of rails without due diligence. No independent hazards assessment, no public safety risk quantification, no emergency planning assessment. These very basic analyses were not done. Why? Good question.

Delaware County is home to many high-tech companies with engineers and scientists. The hazards associated with liquefied gas infrastructure are so off-the-charts that someone with the right background would need about five minutes to assess them as unacceptable. In fact, the Government Accountability Office has been warning not to have artificially liquefied gas infrastructure anywhere near densely populated areas since 1978.

But how severe are the consequences? The county team (including the local governments) will tell you they don’t know. No one has done a hazards assessment at any level of government. One can only speculate that they haven’t done such an assessment because they already signed off on the project and knew they wouldn’t like the answers. Instead, each government entity has chosen to ask Energy Transfer Partners if it’s safe. Guess what the company that stands to make billions has to say about all this: “it’s safe.”