WEST CHESTER (April 7) State Senator Andy Dinniman said the Pennsylvania Joint Conservation Committee’s hearing on Thursday, April 10, comes at an opportune time as committee members will visit his district just when local communities are wrestling with another proposed pipeline project.

Dinniman and state Sen. John Rafferty invited the commission to Chester County to discuss the federal and state governments’ current process for notifying and educating local communities of proposed natural-gas pipeline projects and what can be done to improve it. The public hearing will be held at the West Pikeland Township Building at 1645 Art School Road, Chester Springs, and run from 10 a.m. to noon.

MH900082327 (2)The public is invited to attend and listen to five local officials and residents testify to the committee, which is Pennsylvania’s official think tank on environmental issues. Its recommendations can and most often do become Pennsylvania law.

“Thursday’s hearing will be useful for those affected by a pipeline project and for those interested in ensuring our natural resources are protected against harm from any future pipelines,” Dinniman said. “And there will be future projects. Chester County already has the third-most miles of pipelines in terms of Pennsylvania counties, and pipeline construction is expected to dramatically increase in the years and decades ahead due to the Marcellus Shale.”

Sunoco’s plan to build pumping and valve stations on its Mariner East pipeline through Chester County, and the resulting controversy, is just the latest example of a proposed pipeline creating real concerns for the residents and the communities in its path,” Dinniman continued. “At Thursday’s hearing in West Pikeland, Sen. Rafferty and I will talk about how communities and their representatives are often blindsided by these pipeline projects and thus left scrambling quickly to preserve their rights. We will talk about how Sunoco’s current project is a timely example of that.”

Individuals scheduled to testify are Ronald Bailey, executive director of the Chester County Planning Commission; Ernie Holling, chairman of the West Pikeland Township Board of Supervisors and president of the Chester County Association of Township Officials; Lynda Farrell, an East Caln resident and head of the Chester County Pipeline Notification Protocol initiative; Eileen Juico, who is developing a strategy for interacting with pipeline companies; and Theodosia “Teddy” Price, senior planner for land stewardship for the Brandywine Conservancy.

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