Statement: Pipeline Fuels D.A.’s Re-Election Efforts

Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland has jumped on the political bandwagon with Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan in seeking an investigation of the Mariner East pipeline network — and all the media attention that comes with such an announcement.

Copeland announced her investigation in a release issued Monday night. Hogan opened his investigation in December.

The two investigations come as Copeland and Hogan, both Republicans, face re-election this year in southeastern Pennsylvania counties where voters have started to lean left and recently sent several legislative incumbents packing in the 2018 general election.

Copeland was appointed last year to fill a vacancy. Her term expires this year, and she made clear she is running to retain the seat, even as challengers line up. Hogan also faces a re-election contest in the 2019 campaign season.

These investigations have more to do with campaign publicity than with the project itself.

It is hard to deny the immense regulatory and public scrutiny this project has undergone by both the Public Utility Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection. DEP spent more than 20,000 hours on project permits and responded to 29,000 comments after a series of statewide public hearings as part of a review process that stretched more than three years. That’s why, according to the department, the “permits are among the most stringent DEP has ever issued for this type of construction activity.” Residents and officials at every level have had ample opportunities to review and comment on this project, and the volume of responses proves they did. Decisions were based on the environment, public safety … and the law.

If you are writing about these investigations, please consider the following statement issued by the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance. You can quote me, Kurt Knaus, as spokesman:

“These investigations have nothing to do with a legally permitted pipeline project and everything to do with the politics of candidates seeking re-election. This isn’t about public safety or the environment as much as it’s about garnering as much media attention as possible on a high-profile issue during an election year. The record here is clear: This is a legally permitted project that underwent years of intense regulatory and public scrutiny.” 

For more than three years, the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance has advocated for the safe, responsible development of critical infrastructure and boosts in economic activity. If you are using any of this information, please feel free to quote, Kurt Knaus, as PEIA spokesman.

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Twitter: @PAllies4Energy