This past week, Bruce Castor, former Pennsylvania acting Attorney General and Suzanne Walker, a pipeline welder affiliated with Pipeliners Local Union 798 discussed the implications of the recent protests against Mariner East pipeline construction and its impact on the community.
In his City & State op-ed, Castor takes on the issue from a law enforcement perspective. As a former district attorney and solicitor general, the amount of times unruly protestors have forced law enforcement officials to be called to the pipeline site concerns him. Not only are they stalling the progress of the project, they are endangering the lives of the responders each time they are called to the scene. Castor also noted that pipelines are the safest way to transport energy environmentally. Castor concludes his piece with a message to the protestors:
“Pennsylvanians can and should exercise their right to peacefully protest. However, it should be performed in a way that does not interrupt progress and create danger for others. This pipeline is being built in the safest way possible with respect to the surrounding community, and the same respect should be returned by those who feel inclined to voice their opposition.”
In her Daily Local op-ed, Walker speaks about the economic harm protests can bring to Pennsylvania. The Mariner East project is bringing much needed infrastructure to the people of Pennsylvania. Energy will be more accessible and affordable once the project is completed. The more times protests interrupt the completion timeline, the longer it will take for the state to benefit from the pipeline. This infrastructure project has created thousands of jobs in the state. Each time these protestors attempt to shut down the site, they are putting the jobs of hardworking, skilled workers at risk:
“When activists act out against crucial projects like Mariner East, thousands of hard-working, dedicated pipelines workers — like myself — pay the price. Halting pipeline construction is no noble cause, as pipelines fuel our economy, and the Mariner East is a prime example of a project that has and will continue to generate far-reaching economic benefits. To delay construction will not only harm its workers and communities, but our country as a whole.”