SEPA Labor Weighs in on DelCo Pipeline Moratorium

Following a Delaware County Council meeting late last month, with more than 100 labor union members in attendance, Steamfitters Local 420 member Pat Sheridan was featured in a Delco Times op-ed critiquing the proposed pipeline moratorium in Delaware County. Sheridan offered insights in his piece that the Commonwealth news outlets have been tepid to give a platform and delivered an important message: energy infrastructure projects are a windfall for local businesses, laborers, and the state that is backed by the rigorous oversight guidelines and protocols from regulators and industry members.

Sheridan reiterated what is obvious to some, but lost on many “According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the natural gas delivery system is the safest form of energy delivery of energy resources in the nation. Pipelines and utilities must stick to strict state and federal regulations during construction, testing and replacing of infrastructure.”It is important for SEPA residents to note that the comment period before construction of the Mariner East 2 project some 29,000 comments were reviewed by the PA DEP, including five public hearings and over three years of public meetings discussing the project, including the rigorous regulatory process and oversight along with the countless benefits this project would provide Pennsylvanians.

Pipeline operators also have a stake in safety, as Sheridan clarified “Sunoco also ensures safety measures are upheld when pipelines go into operation, offering awareness and emergency response training sessions with local responders, officials and excavators who work along the pipeline route. Supplemental training is also offered to the county through the Mariner Emergency Responder Outreach (MERO) program, which helps to provide further guidance on hazardous materials and public safety sources.”

The MERO program Sheridan referenced has trained over 2,000 workers since 2013.

A pipeline moratorium would switch energy delivery from the safest medium, pipelines, to those much more risky “…the absence of a pipeline will require product be shipped through communities via the equivalent of 75 railcars or 750 tanker trucks per day, both of which pose a much higher likelihood of threat to community safety. Not to mention the obvious traffic inconvenience. Common sense would point to a pipeline as the obvious alternative.

Lastly, infrastructure projects like Mariner East 2 contribute significantly to the Commonwealth. Union labor is well employed, tax revenues are increasing, and the energy opportunities in the state will serve as its economic foundation so long as projects continue to be lawfully permitted and not hindered by local elected officials lacking the industry expertise.