Officials in Delaware and Chester counties allege the builder of the Mariner East pipeline network may be receiving “special treatment” because the state permitted essential construction activity to resume, and they expressed concern about community spread among workers.
The work being done on Mariner East has been defined as essential by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The legally permitted pipeline project also received a formal and official waiver from the state Department of Community and Economic Development to resume work.
Pennsylvania reportedly has one of the more stringent lockdowns on construction among states. At the same time, similar essential construction work is being done safely in places like New York and New Jersey, hotspots for this pandemic.
Worker safety is paramount, with on-site employees following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. As an added precaution, workers must have their temperature taken before accessing work sites.
Isopropyl alcohol that people are using to sanitize their hands and stay safe uses the byproducts being shipped in these pipelines as feedstock, which also is used in the manufacture of personal protective equipment used by health-care workers.
The counties are taking their lead not from health-care professionals but from the Clean Air Council, which has made it its mission to shut down Mariner East. The work being done on this project is essential, as an immediate cessation of work could lead to potential adverse impacts, or create disruptions or pose other environmental risks.
If you are writing about this situation, please attribute the following statement to Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance:
“Worker safety is paramount as essential construction continues on the legally permitted Mariner East pipeline network. The men and women who are on site building this pipeline are doing everything they can to ensure a safe worksite. They are acutely aware of the situation, and they not only want to protect themselves and their coworkers, but they want to protect their families as well. County officials seem to want the pipeline builder to feel the pain, but those hurt most immediately by their actions to shut down construction will be the skilled laborers who are simply doing their jobs.”
For more than four years, the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance has advocated for the safe, responsible development of critical infrastructure. For more information:
— Kurt Knaus, Spokesman
Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance