WEST CHESTER (February 5, 2018) – State Senator Andy Dinniman said today that residents’ plans to obtain an independent risk assessment of Sunoco’s Mariner East II pipeline are moving forward.

“Residents impacted by the pipeline and members of local and regional citizens groups have really hit the ground running on this,” Dinniman said. “There’s much more work ahead, but thanks to the efforts of so many, we’ve already made great progress in only a short time.”

The group has developed criteria for the independent risk assessment, begun reaching out to companies in preparation for soliciting bids, and raised more than $13,000 in about a week. Those interested in donating can do so at https://www.gofundme.com/citizens039-risk-assessment-of-me2.

In addition, group members are meeting with council members and supervisors of local municipalities to appeal for funding for the independent risk assessment. Several impacted municipalities have already set aside funding to support the effort. 

Meanwhile, Sunoco Logistics is appealing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) order suspending construction of the Mariner East II Pipeline, according to news reports.

On Jan. 3, DEP issued an order suspending Sunoco Logistics’ permits for the Mariner East II Pipeline until several environmental issues are satisfied.

On Feb. 2, Sunoco filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, claiming DEP overstepped its authority and mischaracterized its drilling techniques in the order.

Dinniman said this latest news is just more of the same from a company that looks like it would rather fight in court, then take commonsense steps to ensure public and environmental safety.

“Sunoco has been a bully throughout this process and we don’t expect that change now,” Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said. “But our group remains undeterred. We’re moving forward and we won’t be backing down either.”

While the DEP suspension order finally addresses some of the environmental issues that have been raised for six months or more, it does not account for the serious and growing public safety concerns regarding the proximity of the pipeline to schools, daycare facilities, parks, libraries, and senior living communities.

In light of the lack of an independent risk assessment on the project, Dinniman helped bring together members of various community pipeline safety groups including, the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety, the Uwchlan Safety Coalition, Upper Uwchlan Residents for Safety, Del Chesco United for Pipeline Safety, Protect Penn-Delco, East Goshen Safety and Environmental Advocates,  Goshen United for Public Safety, West Whiteland Residents for Public Safety, Food and Water Watch, the Clean Air Council, and the Chester County Sierra Club.

“There is no question that an independent risk assessment of this project is sorely needed. Despite our multiple requests, the DEP, the Public Utility Commission (PUC), and the governor’s office seem either unable or unwilling to do it. So, we have no choice but to move ahead on our own,” Dinniman said.

He said also the group’s initial progress is a testament to the importance of the issue of pipeline safety and that, according to organizers, donations continue to pour in from throughout the region and the state.

“I’m confident that we’ll reach our goal and succeed where government agencies are falling short in meeting their constitutional duty to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens,” he said. “We’ve built a very well-organized and well-informed coalition of committed individuals who are dedicated to seeing this through for the sake of their communities, families, and children.”

Future meetings are currently being planned. Those interested in participating should contact Don Vymazal of Senator Dinniman’s office at dvymazal@pasenate.com or (610) 692-2112.