The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection today announced that is canceling three public hearings planned for mid-April related to permit modifications for the Mariner East pipeline project. DEP also canceled an April 2 hearing on air quality plans at the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex, which is supplied by the pipeline.
The department’s directive came just one day after the governor put the entire commonwealth under aggressive mitigation measures in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Although the public hearings are canceled, individuals are still encouraged to submit comments about the proposed permit modifications and air plan approvals, as comments submitted for the record to DEP carry equal weight to those delivered in-person.
In terms of the permit modifications planned for portions of the pipeline in Chester and Delaware counties, it is important to note that the record to submit public comments on these operations has been open since Nov. 23, 2019, meaning people already have had more than 100 days to submit comments. The in-person hearings were additive to this thorough process.
If you are writing about DEP’s decision, please find the following statement by Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance:
“We appreciate the concern DEP is showing to ensure public safety and we respect their decision. While public meetings may be canceled, DEP will continue to provide an avenue for anyone with questions or concerns about Mariner East to have their voices heard, just as they always have during every phase of this project. Our members will share their views. We believe the proposed modifications — essentially going from horizontal directional drills to conventional bore or open trench — are essential, based on new realities in the field, to alleviate some of the previous issues experienced during construction, just as the work planned at Marcus Hook is important to continued growth. Mariner East has been and continues to be highly regulated, and approval of these modifications will help to ensure the pipeline is built in an environmentally sound way while minimizing disruptions to residents.
For more than four years, the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance has advocated for the safe, responsible development of critical infrastructure. For more information:
Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance
PEIA is a broad-based coalition of labor, agriculture, manufacturing and other business interests statewide that support private investment in pipeline and other energy infrastructure developments.