HARRISBURG (January 3, 2018) – State Senator Andy Dinniman today issued the following statement in response to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental (DEP) Protection’s order suspending construction permits for the Mariner East II pipeline:

“While I appreciate DEP at long last acting on the environmental concerns of residents impacted by the pipeline drilling in Pennsylvania, serious public safety concerns regarding the proximity of the pipeline to schools, daycare facilities, parks, libraries, and senior living communities persist.

Also, I cannot ignore the fact that even though the DEP order directly addresses some of the very concerns I raised to Secretary McDonnell back in July, issues pertaining to Chester County again appear to have gone overlooked. For instance, why is DEP specifically requiring Sunoco to address the impacts on private wells in other parts of Pennsylvania, but not the dozens of residential wells that were contaminated in West Whiteland?

In addition, keep in mind that more than six months passed since these issues first came to light – six months during which we heard little to nothing from DEP while problems related to the drilling, including the development of an expanding sinkhole that currently threatens at least two private homes and is within 100 feet of Amtrak’s Keystone Line, grew in both number and severity.

This suspension offers a golden opportunity for DEP, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, and the governor’s office to conduct a thorough and in-depth review of all aspects of the Mariner East II project. On top of the environmental and safety issues, my constituents and I have voiced significant concerns regarding public health and well-being and individual property and water rights. I sincerely hope that those, too, are given the attention and consideration that they deserve. In fact, I won’t rest until they do.

In turn, I invite officials from DEP and the governor’s office, as well as representatives from Sunoco to visit Chester County for a public meeting to discuss these issues and how they can be resolved going forward.

Residents in Chester County and throughout the Commonwealth have built a strong and widespread grassroots coalition dedicated to asserting their rights and voices in the face of the growing network of pipelines crisscrossing our state. This latest development is a testament to their strength, determination, and advocacy. We called for a halt to the pipeline in July, we took the message directly to Harrisburg in the fall, and I personally pushed for it again as early as yesterday.

Although I am thrilled to see these efforts gaining traction and getting results, this is by no means an end to this process. And I, as state Senator, will continue to meet my constitutional responsibility to stand with and for the health, safety and well-being of my constituents, while demanding that others, including state departments and agencies do the same.”

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