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Dinniman Calls on Gov. Wolf to Halt Pipeline Construction
WEST CHESTER (December 19, 2017) – Calling the impacts of Sunoco’s Mariner East II Pipeline drilling “unacceptable,” state Senator Andy Dinniman again today called on Governor Tom Wolf to suspend the project until constituents’ concerns are resolved.
“In my district alone, pipeline construction has contaminated almost two dozen wells,
disrupted businesses, created significant environmental damage, and resulted in the development of an expanding sinkhole that currently threatens at least two private homes and is within 100 feet of Amtrak’s Keystone Line,” Dinniman wrote in a December 18 letter to Wolf. “I should point out that all of these incidents have occurred in a single Chester County municipality [West Whiteland Township] as a result of pipeline construction.”
Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, has been a vocal critic of the way the pipeline was being constructed and an advocate for voicing residents’ environmental, public health, property rights, and safety concerns related to the project.
In October, he was joined by dozens of Chester County residents, families, and community members in visiting Wolf’s office in the state Capitol to call for a halt to work on the pipeline and hand-deliver a petition with thousands of signatures.
Dinniman also partnered with fellow Chester County state Senator John Rafferty to introduce a bipartisan package of bills aimed at strengthening the pipeline regulatory process to give counties, municipalities, and local communities the tools they need to better address related safety concerns.
- Senate Bill 928, legislation that requires pipeline companies to apply to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) for authorization regarding the “siting” or placement of pipelines to be constructed under safety and environmental standards. It also requires consultation with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the county’s local governing body, and the local emergency management organization coordinators in evaluating each standard.
- Senate Bill 929, legislation that allows local municipalities to levy a fee on pipelines to fund increased emergency response services and related expenses, such as training, equipment, and planning.
- Senate Bill 930, legislation that requires pipeline companies to meet with county emergency coordinators to identify and share vital information regarding a potential pipeline emergency. Currently, the PUC is prevented from disclosing this information due to security concerns.
- Senate Bill 931, legislation that calls for incorporating automatic or remote shutoff valves on pipelines in high consequence areas throughout Pennsylvania.
Rafferty also introduced several pieces of legislation, including Senate Bill 604 to centralize pipeline safety inspection under PennDOT as there are many agencies involved in the regulatory process.
In his letter to Wolf, Dinniman addressed the safety concerns associated with the pipeline.
“While Chester County has some of the highest trained and dedicated emergency responders, in the event of a catastrophic release, lives will be lost,” he wrote. “A natural gas liquid pipeline of this type does not belong in high-consequence communities and other states have implemented commonsense regulations that would prohibit the planned pipeline path. While I have introduced legislation to directly address this issue, action is needed now.”