China’s Chairman Mao – patron saint of antis
Yesterday was a sad day in Harrisburg, PA. A group of virulent anti-fossil fuelers (maybe 200 or so) attended a staged rally where several shameful members of the state legislature, including Andy “Tony Soprano” Dinniman, and Tom “token RINO” Killion advocated shutting down the legal, legitimate, fully functioning and safely operating set of pipelines known as Mariner East 1 & 2–just to pander to their kook voting base. A counter-rally was held by Republican legislators (i.e. adults) who support the Mariner East pipelines.
Those opposing the ME pipelines repeated the same tired old lies they repeat in front of every camera and microphone they can find: Sunoco Logistics hasn’t done enough safety education, there’ve been “hundreds” of violations (most of them paperwork), the pipelines are bombs waiting to go off, it’ll kill the kids, it’ll kill the environment, we just don’t like it, etcetera etcetera.
Last week 14 legislators (12 Democrats, 2 RINOs) signed a letter to Gov. Wolf shamefully calling on Wolf to shut down the legally operating Mariner East pipelines, which was referenced at the rally. Do they think they live in Communist China or Russia? We live by laws in this land, not by government fiat and edicts from dictators.
Here’s how it went yesterday at the anti rally:
An estimated 200 residents from across Pennsylvania gathered at the state Capitol to call for an immediate shutdown to Sunoco’s Mariner East pipeline project.
Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester), Tom Killion (R-Delaware), Rep. Danielle Friel Otten (D-Chester) and other lawmakers also announced the formation of a bipartisan, House/Senate Pipeline Safety Caucus at the rally.
The residents’ call was reinforced by 14 members of the General Assembly, each of whom signed a March 11, 2019 letter to Gov. Tom Wolf calling for the project to be shut down.
Sunoco proposed the Mariner East project to transport industrial quantities of hazardous, highly volatile liquids—such as ethane, butane, and propane—to Marcus Hook for export overseas.
Sunoco has reported more than 300 pipeline accidents to the federal government since 2006. The Mariner East 1 Pipeline leaked highly volatile liquids at least three times in less than one year before being shut down over public safety concerns.
The Mariner East project includes Mariner East 2 and 2X, the currently shut down Mariner East 1, and a twelve-inch workaround pipeline. This workaround pipeline has its own extensive history of accidents in Chester and Delaware Counties.
The groups said Sunoco has failed to provide either a credible notification system or evacuation plan for people within what it calls the “blast radius.” According to a study procured by Delaware County and released in November 2018, the probable fatality zone is more than one mile wide.
“This threat—that hundreds of children might not come home from school one day, is the inexcusable, unnecessary, and unacceptable risk that Sunoco is imposing on communities—across seventeen Pennsylvania counties,” said Bibianna Dussling of Delaware County. “Our government agencies have been spending time pointing fingers and shirking responsibility rather than using their authority to take meaningful action to protect life and property from harm.”
Rebecca Britton, a school director from Uwchlan Township, Chester County said, “Pennsylvanians have traveled from across the entire state to come here today and demand that our rights to health and safety are upheld by our state government and agencies. We are here today to demand a permanent and complete shutdown of Mariner East.”
Added Ellen Gerhart of Huntingdon County, “We call upon the legislature to take swift action to protect the constitutional rights of all Pennsylvanians to private property. And we call upon Governor Wolf and the Public Utility Commission to permanently halt the Mariner East pipeline project, which has caused so much suffering for so many Pennsylvanians.”
The group said every day that the Governor allows any part of Mariner East to stay in operation without the credible emergency plan required by existing regulations is another day that Pennsylvania communities are subjected to unacceptable risk of catastrophe. (1)
A copy of the letter signed by the cabal of 12 Dems and 2 RINOs:
One of the letter writers, State Sen. Katie Muth (Democrat from Philly suburbs), used yesterday’s events to announce two new bills she will soon introduce. The bills supposedly will make pipelines safer. What they will really do is block new pipeline construction in the state:
Sen. Katie Muth (D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery) announced that she will be introducing two pieces of legislation that would mandate specific safety and public awareness standards for pipeline construction and operation.
“While pipelines may be considered the safest way to transport volatile liquids and natural gases, Pennsylvania has garnered a lengthy history of gas-related accidents, leaks, and disasters,” Muth said.
“My legislation ensures that residents are adequately informed of, and involved in, safety procedures that are necessary to make sure their communities are not being harmed or damaged by pipeline activity.”
The first bill would require early collaborative creation and approval of comprehensive risk assessments for each individual pipeline proposal. The assessments would be used to create an Integrity Management Program (IMP) and Emergency Response Plan (ERP).
The second bill seeks to create an exception to Act 156 of 2006 that would allow agencies and a qualified Independent Third Party (ITP) to conduct the evaluations required by the first bill.
While pipeline operators are currently mandated to prepare IMPs, ERPs, and Public Awareness Programs before pipeline construction begins, they are not required to submit these plans for approval prior to receiving a construction permit or required to share the information with the public.
“Pipeline companies need to operate with full accountability to the communities they are proposing to build through,” Muth said. “Mandating a collaborative process prioritizes public safety and local participation which will hold these companies accountable to the communities their projects impact.”
Muth cited the September 2018 explosion of a newly constructed methane gas pipeline in Beaver County as a recent event that inspired the legislation. (2)
Our side countered with its own rally, hosted by adults, to support pipelines and the shale industry:
A bipartisan group of state lawmakers joined leaders in business, labor and industry to highlight the economic and public safety benefits of pipeline infrastructure development.
Senate Gas and Oil Caucus co-Chair Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) emphasized the importance of the oil and natural gas industry to the state’s economy. The industries have a nearly $44.5 billion economic impact in Pennsylvania, supporting nearly 322,600 jobs and generating nearly $23 billion in wages.
“By a wide margin, pipelines are the safest and most efficient means of transporting gas and oil products to consumers,” Sen. Bartolotta said. “The demand for these resources is growing every day. It is essential that we support the safe, responsible development of pipeline infrastructure so our Commonwealth can reap the considerable economic benefits of these critical industries in the form of more jobs and lower energy costs to consumers.”
Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland) pointed out that pipelines also lead to a healthier environment due to lower carbon emissions than transportation by rail or truck. Senate Gas and Oil Caucus co-Chair John Blake (D-Lackawanna) and Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) also offered remarks in support of the responsible development of pipelines due to the economic and environmental benefits.
Steamfitters Local 420 Business Manager Jim Snell highlighted the knowledge and experience of the state’s construction workers, allowing them to complete projects safely with minimal impact on the environment. Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Director of Government Affairs Kevin Sunday touted the importance of the multi-billion dollar investments generated by the industry.
Sen. Bartolotta emphasized the economic impact of the continued development of pipelines in the future and said that the greatest threat to the industry is not a lack of resources or workforce, but politicians who do not understand or appreciate the impact of the gas and oil industries in the lives of Pennsylvanians.
“Pennsylvania is uniquely positioned to be a national leader in the gas and oil industries for decades into the future, particularly based on our rich deposits of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region, coupled with our skilled workforce,” Sen. Bartolotta said. “What happens over the next several months and years will determine whether we will be a leader in these industries for a generation. The future of these industries hinges on our willingness to support pipeline projects that show the greatest promise in terms of economic development and public safety.” (1)//
A second report on what happened at the adult rally:
A group of bipartisan state legislators on Tuesday stood in solidarity with the oil and gas industry in promoting more pipeline development in the wake of Pennsylvania’s attorney general last week opening an investigation into the Mariner East II pipeline.
That pipeline, which stretches 350 miles across southern Pennsylvania, has been plagued by spills and other mishaps during construction, and residents in eastern Pennsylvania allege it has tainted local waterways and caused sinkholes to open near homes.
Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners owns and operates the Mariner East II pipeline, as well as the Revolution pipeline that exploded last September in Center Township.
In February, the state Department of Environmental Protection stopped all permit approvals for Energy Transfer projects across the state, saying the company had not responded properly to mandates handed down by the state after the explosion.
Despite the recent issues involving the Mariner East II and Revolution pipelines, state Sen. Camera Bartolotta on Tuesday said pipelines remain the safest method of transport for natural gas liquids “by a wide margin.”
Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Bartolotta, R-46, Carroll Township, Washington County, said the benefits of the oil and natural industries in Pennsylvania are clear: They support more than 322,000 jobs and generate nearly $23 billion in wages annually.
She added that some politicians in Harrisburg are still pursuing “job-killing tax hikes” and other policies that could stymie the growth of the industry, a veiled reference to Gov. Tom Wolf again pushing for the creation of a severance tax on natural gas production.
What happens next in state policy could decide the fate of the burgeoning industries, she said.
“What happens over the next several months and years will determine whether we will be a leader in these industries for a generation,” she said. “The future of these industries hinges on our willingness to support pipeline projects that show the greatest promise in terms of economic development and public safety.”
Bartolotta, who co-chairs the Gas and Oil Caucus in the state Senate, said it is “essential” that lawmakers support the “safe, responsible development of pipeline infrastructure so our commonwealth can reap the considerable economic benefits of these critical industries in the form of more jobs and lower energy costs to consumers.”
Flanked on stage by more than a dozen people — some lawmakers, some industry trade group representatives and a labor union official — Bartolotta said the existence of pipelines allows for 200,000 trucks to be taken off state roadways per year, because those trucks aren’t needed to transport natural gas liquids.
State Rep. Eric Nelson, R-57, Westmoreland County, said that without a proper pipeline network, families and communities across Pennsylvania would be at risk.
“If the (anti-pipeline advocates) would have their way and we would end and cease pipeline development, that product still has to get to market,” he said, noting that trucks carrying natural gas liquids would be “riding beside your school buses.”
In addition, a representative with the Steamfitters union said pipeline construction projects are a “lifeline to family-supporting jobs” across the state.
Michael Trofa, who serves as the business agent for the Steamfitters Local 420 in eastern Pennsylvania, admitted that public safety is a central topic when discussing pipelines, “not only for residents and neighbors, but also for the men and woman who work along the lines.”
“We understand what’s at stake,” Trofa said.
A representative from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry also spoke at the event, as did the president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association. (3)
That we keep having to fight the same battles over and over again is sometimes disheartening–but necessary. We can NEVER give up. NEVER.
(1) PA Environment Digest Blog (Mar 19, 2019) – Dueling Press Conferences Pit Opponents Of Mariner East Pipeline Against Those Supporting Pipeline Development
(2) Katie Muth – Pennsylvania State Senator (Mar 19, 2019) – Sen. Muth to Introduce Pipeline Safety Legislation
(3) Beaver (PA) Beaver County Times (Mar 19, 2019) – State lawmakers call for expanded natural gas pipeline network
This post appeared first on Marcellus Drilling News