By Kurt Knaus
A newly released study that reexamines the potential economic impact of the Mariner East pipeline projects shows that the value of this critical infrastructure is even greater than first anticipated, generating a onetime economic impact of nearly $9.1 billion in Pennsylvania and supporting 57,070 jobs during the entire construction period with earnings of $2.7 billion.
The updated report by Econsult Solutions, which issued an earlier economic analysis of the projects in February 2015, also states that the Mariner East projects could generate an estimated $122 million in total to the commonwealth over the length of the construction period.
“We are not just building a modern energy infrastructure with the Mariner East projects. We are giving a huge, sustained boost to our entire commonwealth economy,” said Jeff Kotula, president of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance.
PEIA is a broad-based coalition comprised of labor, agriculture, conservation, manufacturing, retail, and other business groups. It focuses on increasing access to affordable natural gas and natural gas liquids so that production of these valuable energy resources provides the greatest benefit for Pennsylvania workers, consumers, and the overall economy.
There are more than two dozen PEIA members today. Pennsylvania’s energy infrastructure is inadequate to facilitate both production and demand. Mariner East
2 will help deliver energy resources from western Pennsylvania to the revitalized Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in southeastern Pennsylvania for processing, storage, and transport to market.
The economic benefits stretch all along the 350 miles of pipe spanning Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. The project represents a $5 billion investment in Pennsylvania.
“It’s hard to argue with these numbers,” said Abe Amoros, state legislative director at Laborers International Union of North America, which has more than 25,000 members in Pennsylvania. “But workers in Pennsylvania don’t need a report to tell them what they already know: these pipeline projects are a lifeline to stable, family-supporting jobs.”
PEIA members have crisscrossed Pennsylvania to support pipeline projects and promote private investments that will help to build out the state’s infrastructure network, with members offering testimony and public remarks at numerous federal, state, and local public hearings and forums in dozens of communities in counties across the state.
The new Econsult report validates these efforts.
“Our skilled laborers are proud of the work they’re doing to build Pennsylvania’s future,” said James T. Kunz, Jr., business manager for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66, which covers 33 counties in western Pennsylvania. “They know they’re not just laying a pipeline. They are setting the stage to ensure Pennsylvania boosts its long-term local manufacturing, transportation, and trade opportunities.”
Pipeline transportation is not only more economically beneficial and efficient than alternative forms, like trucks and trains, but it is also the healthier, safer, and more responsible choice as well.
Government data already indicate that pipelines are the safest, most environmentally friendly way to transport energy resources. Pipelines must adhere to strict state and federal regulation throughout pipeline construction, testing, and infrastructure replacement to ensure system integrity.
The Mariner East projects have been subject to rigorous regulatory review, and that includes dozens of public meetings and hearings over the course of more than three years.
On Feb. 8, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Sunoco Pipeline LLP announced a resolution that gave the green light for work to resume on the pipeline. The consent order and agreement includes a $12.6 million civil penalty as well as additional measures that Sunoco has proposed to put in place to enhance environmental safety and improved operations.
This latest DEP review adds another layer to the immense regulatory and public scrutiny that this project has undergone, and the action by DEP proves that regulators are being an effective watchdog to ensure the safe, responsible development of this project, which remains a shared priority for everyone.
In the end, the restart of this project is good news for the workers who were idled and hoping for a speedy resolution after construction was halted, and good news for commonwealth residents
who are eager to realize the benefits of one of the state’s largest energy infrastructure projects.
For more information about the alliance, visit: www.paallianceforenergy.com.
Details about the new Econsult study can be found at http://www.econsultsolutions.com/report/potential-economic-impacts-ofmariner-east-pipelines/.