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In response to the recent spill of drilling fluids affecting Marsh Creek Lake, which is vital for environment, recreation, and drinking water, the three Chesco Commissioners called on the Governor “to suspend operating authority of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline construction.” See the story in The Patch, 8/14/20, and Daily Local News, 8/14/20. The Commissioners’ letter, which can be downloaded at the County’s Pipeline Information Center, alludes to the pipeline company’s numerous prior offenses, including its failure to report problems promptly.

The majority of legislators representing Chester County in Harrisburg have also made a written demand. State Reps. Carolyn Comitta (also the Dem candidate in PA Senate 19), Danielle Friel Otten, Christina Sappey, Melissa Shusterman and Dan Williams and state Sens. Andy Dinniman, Tim Kearney, and Katie Muth (all Democrats) signed a letter basically asking the state to shut down the pipeline project for the foreseeable future. See “State legislators call for revoking Energy Transfer’s pipeline permits, after leaks, spills,” Times of Chester County (download the letter there), 8/15/20, and similarly in MyChesco, 8/16/20. The bottom line in the eight legislators’ letter is:

“Energy Transfer has more than exhausted any reasonable expectation to be granted the benefit of the doubt or the convenience of a simple restart report. If they wish to continue, they must be required to go through the time, expense, and due diligence of an entirely new permit application.”

Representative Kristine Howard made her own statement as reported in “Rep. Howard: Energy Transfer Partners Have Put Our Waterways and Streams at Risk,” MyChesco, 8/16/20. She is quoted, in part, as saying “I am thankful for Gov. Wolf’s responsiveness in taking the important first step of indefinitely suspending the drilling that led to the Marsh Creek incident. Now the experts can conduct a full investigation and review in order to determine next steps.”

Dem candidate for the PA House District 13 Richard Ruggieri has also released his own statement in his guest column “Connecting the Dots: Marsh Creek . . . District 13 and CWA” in MyChesco, Aug. 13, 2020. He writes: “The issue surrounding water in Chester County is at its tipping point and is nothing less than a PA Constitution crisis…. What does Marsh Creek have to do with District 13? The answer is AQUA. Energy Transfer and AQUA started a joint venture to supply water to the fracking industry building Mariner East. AQUA is also engaging in a hostile takeover effort of our local water authority, Chester Water Authority (CWA)….”

Dianne Herrin, Dem candidate for PA House 156, has associated herself with the eight legislators’ demand by reproducing their letter on her Facebook page with the comment “This is leadership,” and also by thanking the Commissioners for their own letter to the Governor. Her Aug. 13 letter to the Daily Local News also cites the numerous problems with the construction and says: “Yet this project proceeds. It’s time it stopped.”

Anton Andrew, Dem candidate for PA House 160, said in Facebook: “I join the Chester County Commissioners in urging Governor Wolf to take this necessary step to safeguard the health and well-being of Chester County residents. This kind of irresponsible corporate behavior should not and can not be tolerated.”

John Kane, Dem candidate for PA Senate district 9, states on his web site that : “I will hold Sunoco and the large corporations to the highest levels of transparency and accountability. We know the Mariner East Pipeline should have never been built near homes, schools, and hospitals. This fight is not over and we have to continue to hold this project to the highest safety levels.”

Meanwhile, at the federal level, on July 23 Rep. Chrissy Houlahan wrote the Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to object to delays in pipeline regulation. From her press release (and download the full letter there):

“…Houlahan expressed concern that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Pipeline Safety Program has issued a Notice of Enforcement Discretion to gas transmission pipeline operators, delaying the start of enforcement a critical safety regulation (Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines: MAOP Reconfirmation, Expansion of Assessment Requirements, and other Related Amendments Final Rule) by six months from July 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021. This rule, which includes important provisions, such as the assessment of pipelines in “moderate consequence areas” or MCAs, is vital to ensuring the safety of workers and the communities which host these pipelines. Houlahan urged the Administrator to rescind the Notice of Enforcement Discretion and begin enforcement of the rule as originally planned.”

(Photo: Marsh Creek Lake in more placid days, from the PA DCNR site.)

"The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them" -- Ida B. Wells

Chester County Democratic Committee

37 South High St., West Chester, PA 19382

(610) 692-5811 • [email protected]

© 2019 Chester County Democratic Committee

37 South High St.
    West Chester, PA 19382


(610) 692-5811

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