Focus on Mariner 2

The Mariner East 2 Pipeline bisects Chester County, bringing with it challenges to prioritizing public health and safety in the face of industrial energy development. Area elected officials, including myself, must remain allied with residents, emergency responders and public safety planners to make informed decisions for the benefit of the communities we represent.

This blog contains news, state bills and laws, commentary and other resources related to Mariner East 2.


State Rep. Carolyn Comitta Statement on Mariner East 2 Pipeline | July 17, 2020

While unfortunately, the Mariner East pipeline has not been able to be stopped, I have worked hard to raise the issue of natural gas liquids pipeline safety to the Governor and his administration. A line item for pipeline safety has been included in the 2020-21 budget for the first time ever.

 

I have also held numerous multi-stakeholder meetings over the last 3-plus years. Through this, we have been able to facilitate a PUC proposed rule-making process to add safety regulations for NGL pipelines, for which there are currently none. The new safety regulations should enhance the safety and regulation of any future pipelines.

 

I support all the efforts of the various pipeline groups to stop the pipeline. I am working parallel with their efforts to enact pipeline safety, while understanding that there is no safe pipeline. But if we cannot stop it, we must be prepared to do everything we can to make sure any pipeline is as safe as possible. For the last three years I have heard consistently from residents living along the pipeline about the serious health, safety and quality-of-life concerns for their families, schools and senior living communities. It is time we address these concerns through effective legislation. The safety and public health of residents continues to be my top priority.
 


Pipeline Safety Investigation Under Way Involving Subsidence Incidents in West Whiteland Township, Chester County

(July 17, 2020)

HARRISBURG – In response to reports of several earth subsidences or “sinkholes” near pipelines in Southeastern Pennsylvania, an investigation is under way involving engineers and experts from the Safety Division of the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement (I&E) - the independent investigation and enforcement bureau of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). I&E has been, and continues to, closely monitor a string of events near the 400 block of East Lincoln Highway and Route 30/Lincoln Highway, in West Whiteland Township, Chester County. These events occurred near construction being conducted by Sunoco Pipeline LP (Sunoco). No active pipelines were exposed as a result of the subsidences and engineers from the Safety Division continue to closely monitor the situation. Safety Division engineers have been onsite gathering information for their investigation and monitoring the integrity of pipelines in the area. I&E has also been in communication with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT and West Whiteland Township. The first subsidence occurred on July 10, with additional events developing over the next several days. Most recently, mid-afternoon today (July 17), growing cracks were reported in the pavement on business Route 30 near the first reported sinkhole location, impacting some traffic on that roadway. The subsidence locations have been stabilized with grout Read more

 

Comitta commends Gov. Wolf’s budget plan prioritizing education, pipeline safety and deterring gun violence

(February 4, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 4 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to include efforts to reduce gun violence, prioritize pipeline safety and allot additional funding toward Pennsylvania’s K-12 education program. “I am proud to see Governor Wolf prioritizing education, gun violence and pipeline safety in this year’s budget address. These are prevalent issues in Chester County that I’ve strongly advocated for since I’ve been elected as state representative of the 156th Legislative District,” Comitta said. “These proposed measures would protect and benefit many Pennsylvanians by curtailing gun violence through universal background checks, red flag laws and safe storage practices. “Additionally, Governor Wolf addressed the need for action on pipeline safety to ensure the well-being of impacted communities, like ours. For the last three years I have heard consistently from residents living along the pipeline about serious health, safety and quality of life concerns for their families, schools and senior living communities. It is time we address these concerns through effective legislation. Fellow legislators from Chester County and I have re-introduced bills this session that aim to increase communication efforts, transparency and safety regulations on these pipeline projects. “Finally, as a former teacher, I fully support investing an additional $405 million into Read more

 

Concerned state reps tour pipeline sites with governor

(August 22, 2019)

WEST GOSHEN, Aug. 22 – State Reps. Carolyn Comitta and Kristine Howard today toured the Mariner East 1 pipeline with Gov. Tom Wolf and Department of Environmental Protection Executive Deputy Secretary Ramez Ziadeh. A high-consequence area, Pennsylvania’s Chester County is disproportionately affected by pipelines, with over 600 miles of pipe crisscrossing the county, including the 80-year-old Mariner East 1 pipeline. Constituents are concerned with safety and transparency. Comitta and Howard are committed to improving lines of communication among elected officials, regulatory agencies, and operators to ensure proper oversight. “Public health and safety must always be our number one priority,” said Comitta, D-Chester. “Our families deserve to be and feel safe in their homes, schools and places of work. It is the job of elected officials to do all we can to protect the people we serve. “We appreciate very much that Gov. Wolf is here in our community listening to the serious concerns of residents who live along the Mariner East pipeline. We will continue to work closely with the governor to keep public safety our top priority.” “Nowhere else in the commonwealth do pipelines zig-zag through so many high-density residential areas as here in our own backyard,” said Howard, D-Chester. “We let Governor Wolf know that Chester County will not be kept in the dark. My constituents – and my family – Read more

 

Comitta announces pipeline safety grant covering training for 45 area municipal coordinators, responders

(October 17, 2018)

RG, Oct. 17 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta today announced West Goshen Township was awarded a $135,000 state grant to send 45 local emergency responders, municipal managers, engineers, public works workers and emergency coordinators to intensive pipeline emergency response and regulation training. The state Department of Education grant will cover two educational trips: the first for responders, which is an intensive 40-hour course at Texas A&M covering hazardous material training, and the second will offer classroom learning for municipal coordinators at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Safety Institute in Oklahoma City. West Goshen Township officials said in their grant application that they proposed the Midwest courses because they are cutting-edge educational opportunities in a part of the country that has more experience in energy pipeline work. “I commend West Goshen Township for capitalizing on an excellent opportunity to equip its managers and area first responders with world-class safety training,” said Comitta, D-Chester. “Residents here deserve nothing less than the best-trained public responders, and I thank the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Wolf administration for recognizing the same.” Read more

 

Comitta announces watershed improvements from pipeline infraction fines

(October 16, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta today announced money stemming from pipeline work infractions will be returned to the community as watershed restoration and stormwater management grants. In the 156 th Legislative District, projects in East Goshen Township, West Goshen Township and the West Chester School District were selected to receive part of a $12.6 million penalty that the Department of Environmental Protection collected from Sunoco Pipeline over work violations on the Mariner East 2 pipeline. West Chester Area School District will receive $61,656 to help remove invasive species and restore natural diverse forest in Westtown Township. East Goshen Township will receive $350,000 to enhance water resources and recreation opportunities in the township. West Goshen Township will receive $215,273 for stormwater management to reduce impacts to Taylor Run and $110,142 to restore a riparian buffer in the Chester Creek watershed. “This grant money comes directly from fines imposed on Sunoco for infractions that harmed our watersheds, so the grant money must be used to improve those watersheds and the stormwater infrastructure impacted by its Mariner East project,” said Comitta, D-Chester. “I am pleased that a portion of this fine money has been granted to our community to improve overall environmental health and safety, which my constituents and I consider our top priority.” The projects were among 61 Read more

 

Comitta releases statement on judge’s decision to halt pipeline projects

(May 24, 2018)

HARRISBURG, May 24 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, released the following statement regarding a Pennsylvania judge’s decision to halt operation of the Mariner East 1 pipeline in Chester County, as well as the construction of two new Mariner East pipelines. “I’m pleased that Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes saw fit to stop construction and operations until the public’s safety can be assured. As these projects have progressed, public health and safety have been my main concerns and I’ve advocated for the needs of residents to be put first. Today’s action demonstrates that concerns many of us have raised are being taken seriously. "In her order, Judge Barnes noted that local and state government agencies need time to create emergency evacuation and notification plans and educate the public before operations resume. The timely communication of information to community members affected by these projects has long been one of my concerns, and so I proposed legislation to create the Pipeline Safety and Communication Board to keep residents updated. House Bill 1700 is currently in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. "We’ve seen a record number of incidents occur along the path of the pipeline projects in Chester and Delaware counties, so this emergency action is appropriate. Community members have a right to know that their water supplies will be safe and their homes will be Read more

 

Comitta joins voices calling for halt to Mariner East II pipeline construction

(December 21, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 21 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, has joined with residents from across Chester and Delaware counties and fellow lawmakers to call for a halt in construction on the Sunoco Mariner East II pipeline so that a safety risk assessment can be performed. Comitta joined state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, and several residents from Uwchlan, Middletown and East Goshen townships in a meeting with Gov. Tom Wolf in Harrisburg on Wednesday, where Comitta presented him a formal letter requesting the halt. Other letters from U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan, state Sens. Andrew Dinniman and John Rafferty, and state Reps. Becky Corbin and Duane Milne were also referenced. A petition containing the names of 6,000 area residents also was presented to the governor. The citizen groups Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety and Goshen United for Public Safety were represented at the meeting. Goshen United is led by Caroline Hughes, an East Goshen Township resident. “I have been talking and meeting with constituents, state agency heads, township officials and Sunoco representatives regarding the Mariner East II project since I took office,” Comitta said. “Unfortunately, this project has experienced a record number of incidents and that is completely unacceptable. It’s past time to assess the safety risks so that our first responders and residents have the information they need to be safe, and it’s regrettable that this Read more

 

State pipeline safety legislation proposed by Comitta

(July 19, 2017)

CHESTER, July 19 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, has announced plans to introduce three new pieces of legislation that would bolster the state’s ability to protect private wells for its citizens, enhance interagency communication and create pipeline siting authority. These bills follow her recent announcement calling for a state Pipeline Safety and Communication Board. “After reading the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Report from February 2016 and speaking with residents, municipal officials, first responders, the secretary of Department of Environmental Protection and the chair of the Public Utility Commission, it was clear to me that we could be doing a lot more to ensure better communication and safety as it pertains to pipelines,” Comitta said. “Talking with these agency heads helped to identify what was needed and areas where legislation would be helpful to them. I am happy to respond to this need.” The first bill would address the PUC’s lack of siting authority for intrastate pipelines. A second bill would amend the PUC Confidential Security Information Disclosure Protection Act in order to permit agencies to communicate sensitive information with each other. The disclosure act was passed after 9/11 with the intent to protect information from getting into the wrong hands; however, it overreaches and restricts sharing of certain information between agencies, an unintended Read more

 
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Comitta Continues Fight For Pipeline Safety

(July 11, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Carolyn Comitta updates us on her continuing fight for pipeline safety in Pennsylvania Read more

 
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Comitta Fighting To Keep Pipelines Safe

(June 14, 2017)

The creation of a Pipeline Communication and Safety Board is needed, as our state government struggles to keep residents up to date on pipeline construction, operation and maintenance. The Pipeline Communication and Safety Board will ensure timely and effective dissemination of relevant information to help all citizens, and make our government agencies more efficient. Read more

 

State budget must address safety concerns and environmental effects of pipeline infrastructure and natural gas drilling

(March 9, 2017)

HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, today urged members of the House Appropriations Committee to include in its ongoing state budget negotiations a strong funding plan to address the consequences of natural-gas drilling on the environment and public safety. Comitta made those remarks before members of the House Appropriations Committee, which today concluded three weeks of public hearings on Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 state budget. Comitta said while there are myriad concerns to address in the annual state budget, including adequate investments in schools and job training initiatives, a great concern in her Chester County legislative district is the natural-gas pipeline infrastructure and its effect on environmental and public safety. She encouraged the committee to ensure adequate funding for the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and for the legislature to remain focused on it. “Right now, pipelines are coming through our state, passing by our homes, our businesses and our schools,” Comitta told the committee. “It is essential that we have oversight of construction, inspection and maintenance of these pipelines, and that we have highly trained professionals working on the installation and maintenance of these pipelines. It is essential that our municipalities and emergency responders plan and train for accidents, and take into Read more