Statement: Senator Calls Out Energy Industry for Use of Lobbyists but Uses Tax Dollars for Personal Crusade

State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-Chester, recently criticized pipeline companies and related trade associations for their expenditures and advocacy efforts to build critical energy infrastructure projects across the commonwealth.


What the senator failed to mention is that he has used taxpayer money to file frivolous lawsuits in an attempt to either halt or delay these projects, most notably Mariner East, which runs through his legislative district. The firm Dinniman used to file his claims in one case before the state is the very same one used by the Delaware Riverkeeper, a frequent critic of pipeline projects.


Furthermore, Dinniman seems unconcerned about anti-pipeline activists’ own activities.


A report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General found that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) lacks policies and controls to fully ensure that recipients of Technical Assistance Grants (TAG) are using the funds “solely for appropriate purposes and that taxpayer resources are properly safeguarded.”


That report followed an InsideSources investigative piece that found the federal grant program was possibly being abused by environmental groups, including some in Pennsylvania. The grant program was created to support pipeline education, but reporting suggested that some groups, including those in Chester County, had used the funds to bankroll their anti-pipeline infrastructure advocacy.


Upon publication, lawmakers in Congress asked for the official audit of the program’s grant-making procedures.


There’s nothing pretty about large construction projects. But they remain critical to Pennsylvania’s economy, and because of strict oversight, pipelines remain the safest and most environmentally sound means for delivering the resources we need to power our entire commonwealth.


In response to these claims, please use any of this material or this statement from the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance. Feel free to quote me, Kurt Knaus, as PEIA spokesman:


“Every Pennsylvanian benefits from critical pipeline infrastructure. Our natural resources have helped to lower energy prices, improve air quality by shifting power generation to a cleaner-burning fuel, and strengthen our economy by bringing back to our state high-paying trade jobs and other skilled positions. The senator’s claims and actions on behalf of a few opponents, at taxpayers’ expense, are counter to the general public’s best interest in Pennsylvania.”