Opponents of the Mariner East projects once again are appealing to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to shutdown both the existing Mariner East 1, which has been operating safely for years, and Mariner East 2, which is expected in service before the end of the year. Opponents claim communities do not have the information they need regarding pipeline safety — a point that has been proven false time and again.
This is a last-ditch effort by opponents to shut down the projects. Unfortunately, the hearing will be held before the very same PUC administrative law judge whose highly questionable ruling in May affected ME1, ME2 and ME2x, shutting down operations and construction for weeks until the decisions eventually were overruled and overturned by the full PUC.
If safety is at issue in this case, then the decision should be easy. Here are the facts:
- The pipeline builder annually offers awareness and emergency response training sessions with local responders, officials and excavators across its pipeline system. Last year, more than 2,100 attendees were at meetings in Pennsylvania. A supplemental training effort, the Mariner Emergency Responder Outreach (MERO) program, provided responders with additional guidance on hazardous materials and public safety sources. The MERO program has trained 2,350 individuals since 2013 across the pipeline’s entire footprint.
- Partly because of this work, several jurisdictions already have determined that the pipeline builder has ensured safe construction and community planning requirements.
- More than 29,000 formal comments were submitted and heard at five state hearings held across the pipeline path as part of a review process that stretched more than three years — and safety was a key element on the minds of everyone who testified. Residents and officials at every level have had ample opportunities to provide input on the pipeline — and their voices have been heard, whether about environmental, safety or any other issue.
- Study after study shows that pipelines are the safest, most efficient way to transport energy resources. According to data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the natural gas delivery system is actually the safest form of energy delivery in the country.
- Pipelines must adhere to strict state and federal regulation throughout pipeline construction, testing and infrastructure replacement to ensure system integrity. Additionally, the Mariner East 2 pipeline is being constructed by skilled union labor, which requires safety training and high-quality standards of performance for its work.
If you are covering the PUC hearing, which could last until the end of the week with a decision as early as next week, please feel free to attribute these details to me, Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance. Thank you.
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. For more information: