While many throughout Pennsylvania have tried to act as if they are emergency response experts, an actual emergency response professional, Kevin O’Connor penned an OpEd in today’s Harrisburg Patriot News titled, “Pipelines are the safest option for Pennsylvania.”
O’Connor correctly highlights the fact that “pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to transport the oil and natural gas that we use every day….in fact, studies show that pipelines are 4.5 times safer than transporting oil and gas by rail.”
As a retired firefighter and a leader with the International Association of Fire Fighters, O’Connor has spent his entire career as a first responder and worked to ensure that first responders across the country have the information, tools, and training necessary to do their jobs. O’Connor goes on to say:
“emergency officials, public officials, and others have the opportunity to attend the annual Pennsylvania Pipeline Awareness and Emergency Response Training. This program implements nearly 1,100 face-to-face programs each year, reaching more than 71,500 people. Through these programs, and through the numerous “Safety Day” programs hosted by school districts throughout the state, efforts are being made to ensure that everyone, from first responders to public officials, understands pipeline safety.
Activists who worry about the “what if’s” ignore this close partnership between the industry and local first responders. Since 2013, Sunoco has provided trainings for more than 2,350 local first responders across the state through their Mainer Emergency Responder Outreach program.”
The positive benefits provided by the energy industry in Pennsylvania have been well documented. Not only does the industry provide a major increase in jobs, but it also provides local consumers with affordable, reliable energy. Regulations of pipelines are sufficient and first responders receive the training and tools needed if ever there is an emergency. While we can talk about the “what ifs” as O’Connor references, until we are red in the face, its more beneficial to focus on reality, which O’Connor highlights in this piece.