Tuesday night, Sunoco Pipelines hosted a virtual public meeting for Cumberland County and Pennsylvanians at large to discuss and update the public on its Mariner East pipeline project.
Mariner East and Sunoco have long been neighbors to Pennsylvanians. The Mariner East 1 line has delivered a variety of products to the coast’s Marcus Hook Industrial Complex and various offtakes for well over five decades. Most recently, the line has been responsible for natural gas liquids.
Sister lines to Mariner East 1 include Mariner East 2 and 2X, also transporting natural gas liquids used in manufacturing and energy generation. The proliferation of natural gas in Pennsylvania (now the country’s second largest producer) has spurred a number of pipeline projects like Mariner East 2 and accompanying processing facilities. In all, the natural gas renaissance has created jobs, made energy costs more affordable, and attracted businesses to the area all to the benefit of Pennsylvanians.
Yesterday’s virtual public hearing provided an opportunity for Cumberland County residents to learn about the company, the project, the products, and safety.
As Joe McGinn, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for Sunoco Pipelines, showed in his PowerPoint, all construction in Cumberland County is completed. The company has also restored the right-of-ways as required and planted vegetation in the areas of construction.
Matt Gordon, Senior Director of Pipeline Operations, also took the time to reiterate the safety aspect of the project. As the Department of Transportation has recognized, pipelines are the safest means of transporting natural resources compared to truck or rail.
Not only are pipelines like Mariner East more sophisticated and better monitored, Sunoco has exceeded many of the federal safety regulations for the project. This includes burying the lines deeper than required, stress testing the pipeline more frequently, inspecting all welds, and thickening the walls of the pipeline beyond requirements.
These measures are married with a state of the art monitoring facility. And having operated in the Commonwealth for decades, the company has invested in protecting our communities by taking special protective measures like added pipeline casings in environmentally sensitive areas and in proximity to populations. Other efforts include training over 2,000 Pennsylvania first responders in pipeline emergency response tactics, implementing a public ‘see something, say something’ aware campaign with many public meetings and over 300,000 mailers to residents.
A hat tip to Sunoco and Energy Transfer for continuing their community stewardship during pandemic times through its virtual public hearings. The Mariner East pipelines will be a reliable and safe component to the state’s energy infrastructure for years to come.