On October 2, the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat published a letter to the editor in support of the Dragonpipe (Mariner East 2 pipeline). The author was Kurt Knaus, who signed himself “Spokesman, Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance” although he earns his paycheck as an employee of one of Sunoco’s PR firms.

Knaus’s letter contained enough misleading statements that I felt the need to write a letter in response, correcting some of the misinformation. I doubt if they will publish it. But thankfully I have the ability to do that myself with this blog. The response I sent to the newspaper is below.

To the editor:

I am troubled by the way Kurt Knaus, who is an employee of the Harrisburg PR firm Ceisler Media, has twisted the truth in his recent letter to the editor (“Mariner East 2 a boon for this region”). Here are a few of the misleading statements he uses to make a case for the pipeline:

 “Members of local unions and trade organizations [are] on the job all along the project line”—That might be true for a few of the jobs, but go out and take a look: at most work sites, most license plates are from out of state, at least in my area.

“Mariner East 2 is providing needed ethane for Competitive Power Ventures Inc.’s Fairview Energy Center”—Is ethane really “needed” for that generating plant? in fact, that plant won’t be in operation until 2020 at the earliest. And while it is designed to have the ability to burn a mix of ethane and natural gas, it will run on natural gas unless ethane pricing gets dirt cheap because of a glut in production. The owner of the plant, Competitive Power Ventures, describes it as a natural gas plant on its website. Ethane is not even mentioned.

“Local distribution points also are opening along the line to supply propane for commercial and residential use in Pennsylvania.”—Where, for example? Sunoco/ETP has often talked about plans for local propane distribution, but I can’t find an instance where this has actually happened.

In truth, this pipeline is a menace to anyone who lives anywhere near it. It is far more dangerous than a natural gas pipeline. The permits for it were rammed through without proper oversight by either the state or federal authorities. Sunoco/ETP has seized land right and left on the ill-founded premise that it is a “public utility”. And 99.9% of the material that will pass through this pipe—if it gets built—is for export to the European plastics industry, with no benefit to ordinary Pennsylvanians.

More information (and more accurate information) is available here: www.MarinerEast2.com.

— George Alexander, Delaware County


We’ll see if that gets published. I’m not holding my breath. But if it does, I will update this blog post to reflect that fact.