Harrisburg – August 14, 2020 – State legislators representing five House districts and three Senatorial districts in Chester County have signed a letter to Secretary Patrick McDonnell of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine of the PA Department of Health, and Chairwoman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) calling for an immediate stop to Mariner East pipeline construction and a revocation of Energy Transfer’s permits in Chester County.
“The Mariner East project started with damaging an aquifer and residential wells 3 years ago. It continued with spills, dozens of violations, sinkholes, geological programs, and families being forced from their homes. It’s destroyed neighborhoods. It’s threatening our safety and environment. Thousands of gallons of drilling fluid were spilled into Marsh Creek Lake this week. And now, yet another aquifer has been damaged. Again and again and again we’ve seen so many reasons why this project shouldn’t have been permitted in the first place. Shut it down now before it is too late,” state Senator Andy Dinniman said.
“Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean water, clean air, and the preservation of our state’s vast natural resources, but time and time again, construction on the Mariner East pipeline has violated that right,” Sen. Katie Muth (Berks/Chester/Montgomery) said. “This latest incident further proves that construction cannot be carried out safely. All state-issued permits for the Mariner East pipeline in Chester County must be revoked.”
“In just the past month, we’ve had more than a dozen serious events at Mariner East pipeline sites in Chester County, endangering our waters, ecosystems, and public health and safety,” said state Representative Danielle Friel Otten (D-Chester). “We’ve had sinkholes along Business Route 30 at one segment of the Mariner pipeline, hundreds of thousands of gallons of water pouring out of a hillside at another, pipeline construction debris and pollution in the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek at a third site, and now the spill of thousands of gallons of their proprietary drilling mud into wetlands, a tributary creek, and the lake at Marsh Creek State Park. More slap-on-the-wrist fines will not solve the problem. We need to end pay-to-pollute policies and pull Energy Transfer’s permits.”
In the letter which was also sent to Governor Wolf and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Dinniman, Muth, Otten and their colleagues called for:
- An immediate halt to construction on the Mariner East project;
- Independent testing of private wells in Upper Uwchlan Township, with costs covered completely by Energy Transfer for all residents who request it;
- A requirement that Energy Transfer attend public meetings upon the request of any impacted municipality to hear directly from and respond directly to residents;
- An independent investigation into environmental impacts of the spill at Marsh Creek State Park;
- The immediate remediation of current violations to “as good or better condition”;
- The payment of all outstanding fines and any new fines on these and previous permit violations;
- For Energy Transfer to pay for baseline foundation inspections, private well inspections, and private septic system inspections for any resident of any municipality within Mariner East construction who requests such inspection.
The letter was signed by state Representatives Otten, Carolyn Comitta, Christina Sappey, Melissa Shusterman, and Dan Williams, and by state Senators Muth, Andy Dinniman, and Tim Kearney.