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Dinniman, Rafferty Oppose Sunoco Pipeline’s Request to Avoid Local Regulation
WEST CHESTER (April 1) – State Senators Andy Dinniman and John Rafferty Jr. have filed their opposition to Sunoco Pipeline L.P.’s recent request to have its Mariner East pipeline project exempted from local regulation.
On March 21, company officials petitioned the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to be exempt from any local zoning, subdivision and land development regulations in all the municipalities across Pennsylvania in which they are seeking to construct pumping or valve stations, including Upper Uwchlan and West Goshen. Last week in West Goshen, more than 100 residents assembled at the township building to protest Sunoco’s plans to build the pumping station at Route 202 and Boot Road.
Dinniman and Rafferty joined in a letter today notifying the Public Utility Commission of their opposition to Sunoco Pipeline’s exemption request. The Mariner East pipeline goes through a significant portion of Chester County.
“It’s obvious that constituents and municipalities in Chester County have very real concerns with this project, and it’s most unfortunate that Sunoco officials don’t believe they deserve a formal say in the matter,” Dinniman said.
Rafferty said, “The constituents that I represent deserve to be heard. Township officials have both the right and the obligation to enforce local ordinances in the preservation of our natural resources and quality of life.”
Relatedly, Dinniman and Rafferty invite the public to an April 10 hearing to be held by the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control Conservation Committee at the West Pikeland Township Building. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Even prior to Sunoco Pipeline’s request, the senators asked the Joint Conservation Committee to come to Chester County to discuss the current process for notifying and informing the public of proposed natural-gas pipeline projects, to explain the steps underway to improve the process, and to talk about what other possible improvements should still be considered.
“Next week’s discussion on the lack of interaction and formal communication between pipeline companies and local communities will be particularly timely, given this latest petition to the PUC,” Dinniman and Rafferty said.
In their letter to the PUC, Dinniman and Rafferty point out that Sunoco is in the process of “repurposing” its Mariner East pipeline so that it can transport Marcellus Shale ethane and propane easterly to the Marcus Hook refinery in Claymont, Del. Its proposal requires the construction of 18 pumping stations in 18 different municipalities – from Westmoreland County in western Pennsylvania to Delaware County on Maryland’s border.
Sunoco’s Mariner East pipeline project would also require the construction of 17 valve stations in 15 different municipalities – this time between Washington County in western Pennsylvania and Chester County in southeastern Pennsylvania. Sunoco’s proposed valve station in Chester County would be in Wallace Township.
Their letter further states, “Sunoco’s petition seeking exemption from local ordinances conveniently fails to mention the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s December 2013 ruling affirming local governments’ right to regulate pipelines, affiliated pumping and valve stations, and all other oil and gas operations.
In affirming such rights and striking down Act 13’s language imposing one uniform ordinance for all Pennsylvania, the Court correctly stated that ‘The impact on the quality, quantity, and well-being of our natural resources cannot reasonably be assessed on the basis of a statewide average. Protection of environmental values, in this respect, is a quintessential local issue that must be tailored to local conditions.’
For more information contact Senator Dinniman’s Office at 610-692-2112 or Senator Rafferty’s office at 610-469-8390.