DEP completes review, accepts permit modification Requests for ME2 in West Whiteland Township
On August 16, 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced via press release that they had completed their review for permit modifications to Chapter 102 and Chapter 105 permits submitted by Sunoco Pipeline, specifically related to two sites in West Whiteland Township. Sunoco still needs approval from the PA PUC before construction can resume, after a shutdown of more than two months. More detailed information regarding the permits, public comments and response documents can be found on DEP's Mariner East 2 webpage.
Sunoco Mariner East 2 releases July/August 2018 newsletter
On August 6, 2018 Sunoco released its latest community newsletter. This newsletter and all prior editions can be viewed on the Mariner East project page.
PA PUC votes to restart construction in portions of West Whiteland Township
On August 2, 2018, the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission voted to allow the restart of construction on the Mariner East 2 pipeline at eight locations in West Whiteland Township. Injunctions on four remaining sites are still continued, where necessary permits have not been issued. The PUC indicated that while these actions address emergency injunctions, the PUC Office of Administrative Law Judge has an initial prehearing conference scheduled for late-August to address a "broad complaint" and various procedural issues.
- View the joint motion of Commissioners Norman Kennard, John Coleman and David Sweet.
- View the dissenting statement of PUC chair Gladys Brown.
- View the dissenting statement of Commissioner Andrew Place.
- View PUC's press release.
Sunoco Releases Fact Sheet Regarding Service Change of 12-inch Line
On July 19, 2018, Sunoco released a fact sheet regarding the planned change of service on a section of 12-inch refined products pipeline to address client demand for Mariner East 2. The fact sheet includes information related to the upgrading of the pipeline, integrity management, and regulatory notification requirements. View the Fact Sheet.
The Pipeline Information Center (PIC) website serves as a central location for posting pipeline project information and updates on proposed and active pipeline projects. The PIC supports pipeline safety and public awareness through a partnership with pipeline providers, regulators, and municipal governments.
There are nearly 600 linear miles of existing pipeline corridors that cross through the landscape of Chester County's 760 square miles. The goal of this Pipeline Information Center webpage (the PIC) is to provide information to residents, pipeline operators and other Chester County stakeholders, including farmers and non-profit land trusts and conservancies with large preserves, that are commonly crossed by pipelines. The structure of the PIC has been designed to address stakeholders' concerns.
Key stakeholder concerns include:
- Safety: By far the most common concern raised by residents and landowners is about pipeline safety. These include fear of gas leaks, explosion, and the long-term effect that living near a gas line might have on their children.
- Improved Communication: Another frequently occurring issue is the perception that pipeline operators do not sufficiently inform the public of proposed projects, or expediently notify landowners when pipeline operator staff will be walking on their property.
- Pipeline Saturation: Residents in communities with a large number of pipelines often express frustration that they already have many pipelines and are "saturated." These residents feel that they are bearing more than their fair share of pipelines, and that any new pipelines should cross communities that are less saturated.
- Natural Resource Impacts: Common environmental concerns include potential impacts to water quality, impacts to stream crossings, the loss of open space, and the removal of woodlands and personal yard landscaping.
- Land Value Impacts: Landowners are concerned that environmental impacts and real or perceived safety concerns about pipelines could lower their property values. Property Rights: Landowners are often unclear as to the exact nature of the property rights that pipeline operator possess when the operators own a right-of-way, work space or other development rights.
Pipeline operators are also key stakeholders and their input was essential for the successful design of the PIC. At a meeting held in summer 2013, operators noted the following:
- Operators use technical terminology that the public does not understand which can cause confusion.
- Operators must deal with both renters and owners which can cause complications for notification.
- Operators focus on coordination with land owners (which may or may not be the resident) whose property contains a pipeline right-of-way.
- Operators recognize that there are perceived gaps in communication with the public.
- Operators need to balance transparency with the need to keep proprietary information private so they can remain competitive in the marketplace.
Pipeline expansion projects and new lines have continued to be an issue to county residents. To date, no public or private entity has determined how many new miles of pipelines need to be constructed to transport natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation to markets for consumption. An additional issue is that it has been reported the Commonwealth's current pipeline infrastructure system is not fully equipped to carry the volume of gas produced at the pressure needed to transport it to the market. A report from the Pennsylvania chapter of the Nature Conservancy estimated that between 10,000 and 23,000 new miles of pipeline would be needed for this purpose.