In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, with thousands of Pennsylvania businesses shut down because they are “non-life-sustaining”, Sunoco is being permitted to resume Mariner East work at a second batch of sites.
The agency in charge of approving these waivers is called the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). Sunoco has apparently bamboozled them into believing that “an extended period of shutdown presents a serious concern for safety and security, and/or an extended period of cessation of construction may result in potential adverse impacts to human health or the environment,” as Sunoco’s press release says.
That’s ridiculous. As the Clean Air Council has shown, in its careful analysis of Sunoco’s first round of waivers, the bulk of the work Sunoco wants to do is NOT life-sustaining. Sunoco’s application for the second-round waivers has not been made public (as far as I know), but these are bound to be even less critical than the first batch.
As others have pointed out, during previous construction shutdowns, no safety problems have arisen. To claim “adverse impacts to human health or the environment” now is nonsense—but it appears to have convinced the DCED.
It is time to contact the DCED and tell them to revoke these waivers, as well as the previous batch. Not only does this work fail the “life-sustaining” test, these pipeline workers are liable to be spreading Covid-19 along the entire pipeline route.
Call the DECD at 866-466-3972 or visit their contact page for other methods: https://dced.pa.gov/contact-us/.
While you’re at it, call the Governor: 717-787-2500.
This must stop.
Update: It appears that Sunoco announced these new waivers before they had actually been granted. Or perhaps someone at the DCED announced them prematurely. Or maybe they won’t be granted after all…. Stay tuned.