After years of avoiding pipeline safety issues, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is finally discussing new draft rules that would, if adopted, address some of the problems we’ve seen with Mariner East. The public comment period is drawing to a close. Now is the time to act, if you haven’t already—tomorrow (April 11) is the deadline for comments.
You have two options: The easiest way is to use the response mechanism that Food & Water Watch has set up. By clicking this link you will be taken to a Food & Water Watch page that lets you add your name to a broader comment by filling in a simple form.
The Food & Water Watch comment text addresses these specific issues:
- Stricter accident reporting with quicker turnaround
- Emergency Procedures Manual developed with emergency responders with regular updates and biannual drills
- No hazardous pipeline construction under homes, buildings, and public places
- More emergency shutoff valves at closer intervals
- Thorough geological review before, during, and after pipeline construction
- Land agents must be licensed attorneys, real estate brokers, engineers, land surveyors, or geologists
- Mandatory water supply testing for all well owners who live within 1,000 feet of pipelines
- Establishing minimum spacing between pipelines
- Vehicle barriers around valve stations
- Leak detection systems
These are the key provisions of the draft rules, and the pipeline industry is fighting them. Frankly, they don’t go far enough, but they are an excellent first step.
Alternatively, if you want to review the details of the draft and comment on specific aspects, you should go back to this post. It describes the main issues covered by the draft rules and tells you exactly how to submit comments on your own.
Either way, I urge you to submit your comment before the end of business tomorrow (4/11), either by using the Food & Water Watch page or by creating your own comment.
Getting these rules adopted is crucial, to keep the worst features of Mariner East from being replicated in the next Pennsylvania pipeline project.