On March 19, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Tom Wolf issued an Emergency Order that halted several sectors of Pennsylvania’s economy, including construction of the Mariner East pipeline — even though an order issued earlier that week allowed work on the network to proceed. The governor’s order also included a process for affected businesses to seek a waiver, which the pipeline builder has done, like some 10,000 other companies.
Outside construction work like this undoubtedly can be done in a manner that abides by the proper notions of social distancing, and the pipeline builder has made clear that employees and contractors know how to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect personal and public health and safety. Moreover, especially on large infrastructure projects, some work is critical to ensure proper maintenance and manage environmental controls, especially if a complete cessation would put the environmental or public at risk.
If you are writing about the potential for waivers for the Mariner East project, please attribute the following statement to Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance:
“When the governor issued his Emergency Order shutting down sectors of the economy, he provided a waiver for affected businesses. Mariner East is among the 10,000 or so companies that is abiding lawfully by that waiver process. The state will be diligent in its review, just as it has every step of the way with this project. The reality is, especially on large infrastructure projects, which Mariner East is, some construction work simply isn’t easy to walk away from without putting the environment or community at risk, both in the short term and long term. Where maintenance or environmental controls are essential to safety, those waivers should be granted. Social distancing is inherent in outside work like this, and the workers who are building this project already are trained on proper guidelines for personal and public health and safety.”
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.