Del-Chesco United statement on DEPs action to allow construction to continue.
For Immediate Release: February 8, 2018 Contact: Caroline Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org, 484-883-1156
Governor Wolf, PA-DEP Greenlight Mariner East Construction Fail to Assess Safety Risks to Children and Seniors
Governor Wolf’s Department of Environmental Protection, announced today that Sunoco would be allowed to continue construction of its troubled Mariner East pipeline after payment of a fine of $12.6 million for prior notices of violation. The pipeline permits had been suspended on January 3, 2018 due to repeated, willful and egregious violations of state law and permit conditions, including a number of instances of water contamination.
“Del-Chesco United is deeply concerned that this project has once again been given the green light without assessing the potential risks to our communities,” said Caroline Hughes, spokesperson for Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety. “Governor Wolf and the DEP continue to prioritize Sunoco’s profits over the health, safety, and welfare of Pennsylvanians. Residents are both outraged and activated, and we will continue to hold Governor Wolf accountable.”
The Mariner East pipeline project aims to transport up to 750,000 barrels of highly volatile ethane, propane, and butane per day through densely populated Pennsylvanian communities. Residents are concerned regarding the potential impact of a leak or explosion in places where the pipeline is recklessly sited next to schools, daycares, senior living facilities, and homes. Sunoco has reported 296 pipeline leaks since 2006, including 3 on Mariner East 1 in a 12 month period, and received three additional Notices of Probable Violation from PHMSA during January 2018.
“For the past year, residents of Pennsylvania have had to step in to monitor and report Sunoco’s unlawful and illegal activities, resulting in many of the 34 Notices of Violations that led to the recent halt,” added George Alexander of Middletown Coalition for Community Safety. “We have asked Governor Wolf to keep construction halted in order to procure an independent unbiased assessment of the risk to public safety. The Governor has failed to keep the project halted, and has failed to address the potential risks this project poses. He has left residents with little recourse than to employ additional strategies to protect our families and our communities.”
In addition to holding community trainings around non-violent direct action and civil disobedience, residents from across Delaware and Chester counties recently came together to begin procurement of an independent “Citizens’ Risk Assessment” of Mariner East. The citizens groups aim to raise a minimum $50,000 to hire a professional engineering firm to assess the consequence and probability of a leak along the line, with particular attention to impacts to life, property, and environment. Concerned individuals are urged to contribute to this effort by making a donation at www.gofundme.com/citizens039-risk-assessment-of-me2. The groups also urge DEP to contribute a portion of the 12.6 million dollar settlement to the fund.
Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety is a nonpartisan, fact-based, grassroots coalition of locally-based safety groups, made up of concerned Pennsylvanians from 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.