Ahead of Key Mariner East 2 Pipeline Hearing, New Report Highlights Grave Harms of Natural Gas Liquids Buildout

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Climate and Energy

Chester Co. – Just ahead of a critical state DEP public hearing tonight on a proposed reroute of the disaster-plagued Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline, a new report from the advocacy group Food & Water Watch was released  highlighting the numerous harms and hazards associated with the buildout of the natural gas liquids industry in Pennsylvania and across the country. Many of the hazards detailed in the report have been exemplified in the ill-fated ongoing construction of ME2.

Among the key findings of the report:

  • The natural gas glut is fueling increased NGL exports and more unnecessary petrochemical and plastics facilities;
  • The cheap oversupply of NGLs has led to an infrastructure buildout frenzy, especially in wet gas-rich areas like Pennsylvania and Appalachia;
  • NGLs and NGL infrastructure are notoriously dangerous to public health and safety;
  • Petrochemical plants are disproportionately sited in or near low-income communities and communities of color. 

“The Mariner East 2 pipeline is a prime example of the unacceptable, potentially catastrophic harms that natural gas liquids infrastructure can and often do levy on the frontline communities that are faced with the most direct impacts of this industry. Leaks of natural gas liquids often go undetected because sulfur-based odorants aren’t added to pipelines. This means that extremely flammable natural gas liquids can be exceptionally dangerous and lead to explosions, fire and even death. As our research shows, the hazardous impacts of this industry are not limited to the communities where infrastructure is sited. Natural gas liquids buildout results in petrochemical harms, plastics pollution and fossil fuel-driven climate chaos that impacts the entire world.”

Alison Grass, research director at Food & Water Watch

The proposal under consideration in the Pennsylvania DEP hearing tonight was made by Sunoco, the pipeline owner, as it seeks to avoid a costly reroute directive made by the DEP. Sonoco was forced to halt construction near Marsh Creek Lake and reroute the pipeline path after a serious spill during construction last August contaminated the lake with thousands of gallons of toxic drilling sludge. Sunoco’s alternative proposal for the required reroute would take the pipeline ever closer to the lake than the original path.

Contact: Seth Gladstone – [email protected]