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PA Congressional Hearing on Public Safety Concerns – Mariner East II Pipeline

The Middletown Coalition for Community Safety (MCCS) invites all local and national media and interested organizations to a PA State Hearing regarding Sunoco Logistics’ controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline. On Wednesday November 16th at 09:00, the state’s Safety and Emergency Planning Commission will orchestrate a hearing to address public safety and emergency response concerns with regard to the proposed high pressure Natural Gas Liquids pipeline. This hearing will bring together members of the PA Senate and House of Representatives to obtain information from four individual panels represented by oil and gas industry personnel, emergency responders, the PA Public Utility Commission, and concerned citizens from Delaware County’s technical community. These concerned citizens are members of the highly influential, newly formed MCCS. This hearing will bring to a head months of debate regarding the risk and potential severity of this unprecedented pipeline slated to run through the heart of densely populated Chester and Delaware Counties. Delaware County citizens are expressing concern over the proposed Mariner East 2 pipeline, a 20 inch diameter Natural Gas Liquids pipeline that would operate at a maximum pressure of 1,500 PSI. Sunoco Logistics’ ME2 pipeline would transport natural gas byproducts such as ethane, propane, and butane from Marcellus Shale region through densely populated areas on the way to Marcus Hook for refinement and export. These products are artificially condensed to a liquid state under pressure within the pipeline, but in the event of a leak, expand by several hundred times into a gas that is invisible, odorless, heavier-than-air, and highly combustible. The massive amount of gas that would release from a leak in these densely populated areas could put thousands at risk of asphyxiation. If the migrating gas cloud finds an ignition source, there would be mass casualties and many more with serious thermal injuries. For perspective, the ATEX NGL pipeline, equivalent to ME2, ruptured in rural Follansbee, West Virginia, wiping out everything within 2,000 feet. In Delaware County, where there are over 3,000 people per square mile, that same explosion could potentially impact thousands and damage hundreds residences, businesses, and schools. For example, Glenwood Elementary School, which sits only 800 feet away (the playground less than 650 feet) from Mariner East 2, serves over 450 small children and dozens of staff, all of whom could be at risk if the ATEX event happened in Delaware County. The citizens are questioning the Mariner East II pipeline location and routing. No Pennsylvania or federal agency currently reviews or regulates where a pipeline operator can or should locate a Natural Gas Liquids pipeline. Any emergency response review of proposed Natural Gas Liquids pipelines only occurs after the pipeline operator determines the route. Given Sunoco’s record, averaging two leaks per month since 2006, including incidents in heavily populated Aston, PA in May and October 2016, and the potential severity of this particular type of pipeline, Citizens contend that it is neither appropriate nor responsible for this pipeline to be in such close proximity to parks, schools, and other vulnerable sites.

Middletown Coalition for Community Safety

This hearing will be live streamed at:

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