State Senator Andy Dinniman today released the following statement in response to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection putting a hold on all ETP permits due to non-compliance:

“Nothing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or the governor has done today stops the flow of highly volatile, hazardous natural gas liquids through Chester and Delaware counties. In fact, today’s statements further acknowledge our concerns – that an 80-year-old, cobbled together pipeline should not be running through geologically questionable terrain and within feet of schools, high-density residential neighborhoods, and communities. While it’s good to see the governor and DEP asserting some authority, we hope that in the days ahead they assert it more by ordering a shutdown of the Mariner East 2 (including the 12-inch line) in the interest of public safety.

It’s also about time that we’ve passed comprehensive pipeline safety reform legislation in Pennsylvania. I welcome the governor’s support (as specifically mentioned in his press release) of four of my bills:

  • Senate Bill 258 (Pipeline Emergency Notification)– Requires public utility facilities transporting natural gas or natural gas liquids to meet with the county emergency coordinator entrusted to respond in the event of natural gas release and provide vital emergency response and evacuation information.
  • Senate Bill 260 (Pipelines Located Near Schools) – Outlines types of information that pipeline operators must share with schools that fall within 1,000 ft of hazardous liquids and natural gas pipelines, including how to respond to a leak. Currently, pipeline operators are not required to provide this information. 
  • Senate Bill 262 (Pipeline Siting Review) – Requires pipeline companies to submit a detailed application to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) prior to construction of a new pipeline. 
  • Senate Bill 263 (Pipeline Safety Valves) – – Calls for incorporating automatic or remote shutoff valves on pipelines that impact high consequence areas throughout Pennsylvania

While we’re at it, I am introducing more pipeline safety bills that I’d love to have the governor support. I’m calling for a two-year moratorium on the following:

  • The permitting and licensing any hazardous liquids pipelines in the Commonwealth.
  • The eminent domain authority of hazardous liquids pipeline projects in the Commonwealth.

In addition, we should require pipeline companies to install fiber-optic SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition systems) on their pipelines to notify companies and directly alert emergency services of potential leaks or ruptures.

Pipelines are a serious matter and, if not constructed and operated properly and carefully, can pose a serious threat to the safety of our environment and our communities, families, and children. It’s time that we take them seriously and follow that with a commitment to real reform and corrective action.

In that regard, I welcome all Pennsylvanians to join me in Harrisburg on Tuesday, March 19, for a rally for pipeline safety and in support of the bills introduced by myself and others. The rally is scheduled for 10 to 11 a.m. in the Main Capitol Rotunda.”