Sunoco originally planned to put the Dragonpipe (Mariner East 2 pipeline) under much of the Exton area by drilling. According to its new plans, however, it wants to run the pipeline through the heart of Exton mostly by trenching.
This is a terrible proposal. Full details are in a report that Sunoco submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). In the report, Sunoco claims this route “avoids and minimizes new and permanent impacts on previously undisturbed land, land use encumbrance, and site-specific and cumulative impacts on land, environmental, and community resources.”
In fact, this plan does the opposite. As it passes the library, this approach destroys many of the remaining old-growth trees and much of the only significant remaining wetland in the center of Exton. And it runs right through the heart of downtown Exton, alongside the library and two major shopping malls, creating a massive, unnecessary danger to hundreds of people every day. (The “blast zone”, where near-total destruction would occur if the pipeline ruptured and ignited, is shown by the yellow shading in the map above.)
Sunoco failed to consider alternative routes. Sunoco filed the report with the DEP as the result of an agreement the company signed in August with the Clean Air Council and two other environmental groups. By the terms of that agreement, Sunoco is required to “…propose modification of the design of the HDD or relocation of the pipeline….“
But Sunoco has not met that requirement. It has not seriously considered relocation. Instead of insisting on routing the pipeline through the center of Exton, why didn’t Sunoco consider a route through rural countryside a quarter of a mile to the north, on the other side of Ship Road? The damage to the environment would be far less, and the risks in the event of a leak would be dramatically smaller. But neither this nor any other alternative route was even considered.
The only reason the report gives for sticking to this route is that the company “routed the Project to be co-located with existing pipeline and other utility corridors to avoid new ‘greenfield’ routing alignments, to the maximum extent practicable.” That was already a weak argument when the pipeline was to be located far underground; but now that Sunoco is proposing to locate it near the surface, it is disastrous.
This plan must be stopped.
Here’s what to do right now. There is something you can do about it, but it requires immediate action. Start by sending your opinion to the DEP. We are currently in a two-week “public comment” period for this plan, and it is critical that you send your comments to the DEP before it ends on November 20. Email your comments to the DEP at this address:
Tell the DEP about the problems you see with this plan: the loss of trees and wetlands, the threat to the library and businesses, the failure to consider alternatives—whatever you find wrong with it. Do it now!
But don’t stop there. To have greatest effect, it is important to send copies of your DEP comments to several other places:
- To the Clean Air Council, who needs your comments as ammunition in its fight against the pipeline. Send copies to Kathryn Urbanowicz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- To Governor Wolf, who has the power to stop this pipeline if he wants to. You can use this contact form: https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/
- To your state senator and representatives (who can hold public hearings to show the public how dangerous this pipeline is). Don’t know who they are or how to contact them? Get that information from this site: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/index.cfm
But don’t wait. The “public comment” period only lasts until Nov. 20, so make yourself heard now!
No wonder that Quigley quit… the pipeline people are out of control…
This is amazing that they now decided to change the route and not even thinking about the ramifications to the housing developments, library, Mall and traffic just to mention a few …..
The wildlife, the trees, the people & noises from drilling that’s just a small list of issues.
Where will these huge machines go in the neighborhood ? The cul de sacs no — the people need them accessible not filled up with Sunoco machinery. The dust from the dirt causing breathing issues to Seniors’s our children.
What more well we could mention lots of things but it’s big business and they don’t care if they did they would have sought out some alternatives.
It’s a shame that people are treated this way and that big business gets away with it!
Another place to report problems you see with this revision:
Reference: HDD No.S3-0381/PA-CH-0219.0000-RD & PA-CH-0219.000-RD-16 HDD Reevaluation Report.
Executive Assistant, Office of Programs
Department of Environmental Protection
Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
FAX 717 705-4980
And now they want to expand the trench digging to even more neighborhoods in Exton! http://files.dep.state.pa.us/ProgramIntegration/PA%20Pipeline%20Portal/MarinerEastII/HDD_Reevaluation_Reports/N.%20Pottstown%20Pike%20Crossing%20-%20S3-370%20-%20PA-CH_0212.0000%20-%20HDD%20Reanalaysis.pdf
Perils of the Pipelines
Jerry and Nancy McMullen
Sunoco Logistics Partners has status as a public utility. This enabled them to use eminent domain to coerce us and others throughout the state to sign easements for construction of Mariner East pipelines. These pipelines are scheduled to pass through our property, disrupting our lives, destroying our landscape, and posing chronic danger. Although our concern is personal, it is important that everyone living along or traveling in proximity to these pipelines understands their risks.
Sunoco’s new pipelines are slated to follow the path of an existing pipeline installed during the early 1930s when the majority of Chester County was farmland. In a two-mile stretch through the heart of Exton, residential neighborhoods, retail centers, Meadowbrook Manor Little League Field, Chester County Library, Exton Elementary School, Sunrise Senior Living Facility, AMTRAC/SEPTA rail lines, routes 100 and 30, and a stream and wetlands will fall within the Mariner pipelines’ impact zone. The potential danger for this densely developed area is exceptional and deserves careful consideration.
OVERVIEW OF MARINER EAST PIPELINES
The purpose of Mariner East pipelines is to transport propane, ethane, butane, and other liquefied hydrocarbons from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions of Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania to Sunoco’s facility in Marcus Hook. The gas and oil industry refers to liquefied hydrocarbons as natural gas liquids (NGLs). The federal government, however, classifies these products as “hazardous, highly volatile liquids.” NGLs are liquid only under very high pressure or extremely cold temperatures. If a leak occurs, NGLs escape into the atmosphere as colorless, odorless gases that are heavier than air, extremely flammable or explosive, and asphyxiating.
MARINER EAST 1
ME1 is an 8-inch diameter steel pipeline whose original use was moving petroleum products 300 miles from Sunoco’s oil refinery in Marcus Hook to markets in Western Pennsylvania. During 2014, ME1 was converted to carry 70,000 barrels of NGLs per day to the repurposed Marcus Hook facility for storage, processing, and distribution.
MARINER EAST 2
During December 2013, Sunoco announced plans for ME2, a 350-mile 20-inch diameter pipeline that spans Pennsylvania and parts of West Virginia and Ohio. Initial capacity of this pipeline will be approximately 275,000 barrels of NGLs per day, with a maximum capacity of 450,000 barrels daily.
MARINER EAST 2X
Mariner East 2X (ME2X) is another new pipeline included in Sunoco’s plans. This 16-inch diameter pipeline has the potential of transporting 250,000 barrels of NGLs daily.
SUMMARY OF MARINER EAST PIPELINES’ CAPACITY
The volume of an oil barrel is 42 gallons. The following chart shows the quantity of NGLs moving through Pennsylvania if Sunoco’s three pipelines operate at full capacity. Most of these materials are intended for export to European petrochemical manufacturers.
Daily Capacity of Mariner East Pipelines
Pipeline Diameter Barrels Gallons
Mariner 1 8-inch 70,000 2,940,000
Mariner 2 20-inch 450,000 18,900,000
Mariner 2X 16-inch 250,000 10,500,000
TOTAL 770,000 32,340,000
WHO IS AT RISK?
According to written testimony by Middletown Coalition for Community Safety (November 2016), a pipe containing NGLs that leaks and explodes creates a blast zone of approximately 1100-1500 feet, with thermal impacts (such as severe burns or property damage) up 2200-3000 feet. FracTracker (December 2017) estimates that 105,419 Pennsylvanians live within Mariner East’s blast zone; almost one-third of these residents live in Chester County. The table below rank orders the five Pennsylvania counties whose populations are most at risk.
Residents within the Blast Zone of Mariner East Pipelines
Rank County Number of residents
1 Chester 31,632
2 Delaware 17,791
3 Westmoreland 11,183
4 Cumberland 10,498
5 Berks 7,644
Further highlighting local vulnerability, FracTracker found that thirteen (32.5%) of the 40 Pennsylvania public and private schools that lie within the Mariner East’s thermal impact zone are located in Chester County.
Governor Wolf and Pennsylvania’s regulatory agencies, including the Public Utility Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection, have not been diligent enough in oversight of Sunoco’s practices during Mariner East pipeline planning and installation. Sunoco has violated regulations and agreements, damaged homes, created sinkholes, contaminated aquifers and wells, and disrupted wetlands. The danger of major explosions looms as millions of gallons of hazardous, highly volatile liquids flow near homes, businesses, schools, and recreation facilities on a daily basis. No county is more at risk than Chester County. It is necessary to be informed, vigilant, and proactive to assure the safety and wellbeing of our community.
No one can be sure that the Mariner East-2 pipeline will NEVER leak. No one can be sure that humans will NEVER breathe the toxic gas that escapes into the air and lurks near ground level. No one can be sure that leaking gas will NOT ignite and explode in a populated area. No one can be sure that the Mariner East-2 pipeline does NOT pose an unacceptable hazard to human health, safety, and survival as routed and installed. No one can be sure that a leak will NOT degrade aquifers, natural lands, agricultural lands, or any other land into polluted brownfields. Further, these risks are probably not justified by the potential profit to Sun Oil Company (SUNOCO) from the sale of the LNG to buyers in Europe. Let’s see an independent professional risk-benefit analysis, please. And — remember — thousands of people bear a risk to life and limb which is not offset by any direct benefit to them, so that SUNOCO can enjoy a potential financial reward. IT SHOULD BE THE PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO DECLINE TO ACCEPT SUCH A RISK, I.E. TO TELL SUNOCO TO COMPENSATE THEM OR ELSE REROUTE THEIR PIPELINE ELSEWHERE.