The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Secretary Patrick McDonnell are currently considering the major modification request to a Mariner East HDD site in Upper Uwchlan Township, along Meadow Creek Lane specifically.
Prior to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the DEP was scheduled to host a public hearing to consider the request. But to comply with social distancing guidelines and the Governor’s stay-at-home order, the hearing was cancelled on March 17th. This was following a written comment period which welcomed input from stakeholders and members of the public. The DEP has reiterated that “all comments, whether submitted in writing or delivered at hearings, carry equal weight.”
Despite what activists may claim, this was not a result of politics being at play. Cancelling a public gathering like this follows the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Governor Wolf. But, predictably, Representative Danielle Friel Otten and State Senator Katie Muth – who have come to represent the anti-infrastructure ideologues of Pennsylvania more than their own constituents – penned a joint statement using their office to criticize the regulator for cancelling the public hearing.
They wrote: “Community members deserve this opportunity to be heard, to hear the comments and objections of their neighbors, and to hold Sunoco accountable. We urge you to keep your promise and hold a public hearing.”
Our question is: Did Rep. Friel Otten and Senator Muth not understand the DEP’s March 17th release quoted in their statement? Again, the DEP wrote that “all comments, whether submitted in writing or delivered at hearings, carry equal weight.”
We can’t help but to wonder what their objective really is. Are they really willing to put the health and wellbeing of their constituents at risk all for the purpose of staging a political stunt?
Locals in Southeast Pennsylvania have been clear that they are experiencing construction fatigue. Friel Otten and Muth’s latest antic is only intended to delay the legally-permitted project even further.
In the end, the DEP took the proper action. They allowed for requisite public comment and have gone the extra mile to avoid putting members of the public at risk. Rep. Friel Otten and Sen. Muth have a clear disdain for the pipeline, but this latest act shows they are prioritizing an anti-energy ideology over public health and community safety.