Concerned Citizens Demand Gov. Wolf Close Mariner Pipelines

by Duane Nichols on October 19, 2019

Construction of Mariner East 2 in Penna.

Activists urge Wolf, again, to shut down the Mariner pipelines — They’re pointing to sinkholes and contaminated wells seen throughout the building process — they’re worried about explosions.

From an Article by Katie Meyer, StateImpact Penna., October 17, 2019

(Harrisburg) — Democratic Governor Tom Wolf got some unexpected visitors Wednesday—or at least, the hallway outside his office did. When a crowd of about 60 protesters with the groups Halt Mariner Now and the Mama Bear Brigade gathered outside Wolf’s door to ask him to close down a major, nearly completed pipeline project, Wolf wasn’t there and Capitol police wouldn’t open the door. They rallied anyway.

There are three pipelines at the heart of the advocacy effort, which dates back several years: the Mariner East 1, 2, and 2X. All carry, or are designed to one day carry, natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale region in Ohio (& WV) and Western Pennsylvania to a Delaware County processing terminal.

The project has been slowed and stopped many times by issues that include a rash of sinkholes caused by construction, and mud from drilling polluting wells and waterways.

People who live in the southeast, where construction has been heavy in residential areas, are also worried that the highly flammable liquids in the line could combust.

Luke Bauerlein, an organizer with the Halt Mariner Now group, said that’s one of his big concerns. “Our community residents aren’t lying when they say this has the potential to be a bomb,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think Sunoco has given them good enough evacuation advice. “I’m not going to be able to forgive myself if I don’t stand up and there’s an accident that happens. We’ve been living on luck for way too long.”

Wolf met with the protesters in Chester County several months ago, in August of this year.

He told them while he shares some of their safety and environmental concerns, the gas liquids need to be moved and the administration is trying to keep the process safe.

“We are trying to make transmission of this stuff, and the alternatives to this, I think, are even worse,” he told them at the time. “So, we’ve got to figure out how to do a better job, I fully agree. What we disagree on [is] in terms of whether we should keep doing this or not.”

Throughout the Mariner project, Sunoco and pro-gas groups have maintained that the pipeline is safe, and that sinkholes and contamination are just a result of construction.

“Oversight of this project is ongoing and strict, as actions by regulators demonstrate,” the pro-pipeline Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance said in a statement. “The project is legally permitted and operated, as courts have ruled repeatedly.”

The alliance added, pipeline work has provided a number of temporary union jobs in the commonwealth.

Bauerlein said he and his fellow demonstrators aren’t necessarily discouraged by Wolf’s refusal to stop the Mariner project. He merely sees it as a cue to move their protests out of the Capitol.

“I’m not sure I can speak to that today,” he said. “But stay tuned, there will be more plans to come.”

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Mariner East: A pipeline project plagued by mishaps and delays

Explainer Article by Jon Hurdle / StateImpact Penna.

A Mariner East 2 construction site in rural Pennsylvania is shown in the photo above. The Public Utility Commission lifted a ban on construction of a valve, removing one obstacle to completion of the troubled project.

Sunoco Logistics Mariner East pipeline project includes three lines — the Mariner East 1, the Mariner East 2, and the Mariner East 2X, all of which carry or will soon carry natural gas liquids (NGLs) from the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays in eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia and western Pennsylvania across the state to a processing and export terminal in Marcus Hook, Delaware.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robert Smith November 16, 2019 at 11:14 pm

Pennsylvanians speak out about losing their land to a Sunoco pipeline

From Robert Smith, Valliant News, November 16, 2019

Any day now, a pipeline company will arrive on Ralph Blume’s land in southern Pennsylvania to remove a hay shed. The shed sits on the route of the new Mariner East 2 pipeline, which Sunoco is building to transport natural gas liquids to the East Coast and abroad.

Blume, 76, doesn’t plan to make it easy for Sunoco contractors. “I’ll sit in the damn building, and they can go to hell,” he said, one week after he watched Sunoco contractors cuts down trees on his farm.

To make way for the pipeline, Sunoco has offered landowners payments ranging from several thousand dollars to six figures. Many have accepted the monetary offer and are preparing for a hazardous liquids pipeline to be dug through their farms and yards. Others are refusing, and learning that they have little say in the matter.

Eminent domain is often used by governments to gain right-of-way for projects such as highways or government buildings. But state and federal regulators who authorize pipeline projects that are building them the right to use eminent domain to secure needed right-of-way.

In Pennsylvania, seven major pipeline projects are under construction or regulatory review. One of the most controversial is the Mariner East 2, which would add two pipelines along the route of the Mariner East 1 pipeline in the southern part of the state.

Built in the 1930s, this pipeline formerly shipped petroleum east to west from Sunoco’s Marcus Hook refinery, near Pennsylvania’s border with Delaware.

Sunoco briefly started idling the refinery in 2011. The next year, Energy Transfer Partners – the same company that’s building the Dakota Access pipeline – purchased Sunoco and soon came up with a novel way to repurpose the old pipeline.

Energy Transfer recognized that fracking in the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania and West Virginia was producing a glut of what’s known as “natural gas liquids” – products such as propane, ethane and butane. It also knew there was a demand for these liquids in Europe, particularly among plastics manufacturers and gasoline refiners.

So the company re-engineered its pipeline to run west to east, and started transferring natural gas liquids to Marcus Hook, where they were being loaded into ships heading to Europe.

It is unclear how much of the product is being distributed abroad versus locally. “That is proprietary shipper information,” spokesman Jeffrey Shields wrote in an email response.

That means rural and suburban landowners from Pennsylvania to the Dakotas are finding it increasingly difficult to combat an ever-growing network of pipelines that companies are racing to build to accommodate the prodigious amounts of oil and natural gas that fracking is producing.

“You can’t refuse them,” said Blume, because they have that court order.”

We visited residents across the state who are standing up to Sunoco. Their stories are compiled into the interactive video above.

Shown in a photo by Brittany Peterson McClatchy, Ellen Gerhart sits on tree that Sunoco cut down on her family’s property in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, on April 24, 2017. Like other pipeline companies, Sunoco has been authorized to use eminent domain to take control of private property needed for its Mariner East 2 pipeline project.

https://valliantnews.com/2019/11/16/pennsylvanians-speak-out-about-losing-their-land-to-a-sunoco-pipeline/

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