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Dinniman Named to Pennsylvania Pipeline Task Force – June 18, 2015
WEST CHESTER (June 18) – Governor Tom Wolf today named state Senator Andy Dinniman to the Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force, a group of experts and stakeholders that will recommend policies, guidelines and best practices to guide the massive expansion of pipeline infrastructure currently taking place across the Commonwealth.
“I am honored to be one of the two legislators selected for the task force and I look forward to working with my fellow members to make recommendations that take into account environmental protection and public safety concerns, as well as the preservation of local control and individual property rights,” Dinniman said. “I hope we can find a way to continue to take advantage of the economic rewards and energy benefits of the Marcellus Shale without jeopardizing the progress we have made in Chester County in terms of public safety and environmental preservation.”
Dinniman, who currently serves on the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and Joint Conservation Committee, was one of 48 individuals selected to serve on the task force, which will be chaired by Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley.
The task force is made up of representatives from state agencies, the legislature, federal and local governments, the pipeline and natural gas industries and environmental groups. Experts were drawn from across the state and country.
Of the more than 200 people who applied to participate on the task force, three Chester County residents were selected – Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone; Cristina Jorge Schwartz of Apex Companies in Malvern; and former Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Wayne Gardner, now of WE Gardner Company in Downingtown.
The task force will be informed by an additional 101 individuals, serving on 12 workgroups, who will focus on such issues as pipeline safety and integrity, siting and routing, environmental protection, conservation, agriculture, emergency preparedness, natural gas end use, county government, local government, public participation, workforce and economic development, and historical, cultural and tribal issues. In addition to the task force members, five Chester County residents were selected to serve on the workgroups. They are:
- West Whiteland Township Supervisor George Turner will serve on the Emergency Preparedness Workgroup.
- Tredyffrin Township Supervisor Mark Freed and East Bradford Supervisor Vince Pompo will serve on the Local Government Workgroup.
- Lynda Farrell of the Pipeline Safety Coalition will serve on the Pipeline Safety and Integrity Workgroup.
- Eileen Juico of Chester Springs will serve on Public Participation Workgroup.
Dinniman, who is recognized as a leader on pipelines in the region, has introduced a number of bills in the legislature addressing pipeline construction, safety, placement and other impacts. They are:
- Senate Bills 801 and 802, which require the Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that residents are notified of upcoming projects in their communities and to post public documents on its website so residents can better learn about proposed projects.
- Senate Bill 803, which requires pipeline operators to get the approval of Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Lands Condemnation Approval Board before condemning any Act 43 agriculture easements.
- Senator Bill 804, which protects taxpayer-funded agriculture and conservation easements by requiring pipeline operators to replace acre-for-acre any land they build on.
- Senate Bill 905, which amends Title 53 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to allow local governments and school districts to impose a real estate tax on natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. Currently, they are exempt from local taxation.
In addition, Dinniman has cosponsored Senator John Rafferty’s Senate Bill 561, which centralizes PennDOT as the agency charged with inspecting interstate and intrastate pipelines in Pennsylvania. Currently, interstate pipelines are regulated by the federal government. However, there is no state regulation of the siting of intrastate pipelines in the Commonwealth.
“Considering the ongoing growth of natural gas pipelines in Chester County, I very much welcome the opportunity to serve on the task force,” Dinniman said. “Over the years, I have introduced a number of bills that address pipeline issues in Pennsylvania. I hope we can reach an understanding through the task force that will enable legislation that takes into consideration citizen concerns along with industry goals. A balance is essential for all.”
Members of the Pipeline Infrastructure Task force will define a set of recommendations and best practices for: planning, siting and routing pipelines; amplifying and engaging in meaningful public participation; maximizing opportunities for predictable and efficient permitting; employing construction methods that reduce environmental and community impacts; and developing long-term operations and maintenance plans to ensure pipeline safety and integrity.
The task force will provide a report of recommendations to Governor Tom Wolf by February 2016.
The first meeting of the task force will be held from 1 to 4 p.m., July 22 at DEP’s South-central Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Ave.,Harrisburg. The meeting will be open to the public and streamed live and will also available on DEP’s website. Access information will be posted here prior to the meeting.