The Mariner East 2 is a 350-mile pipeline that would carry dangerous gas liquids across the state of Pennsylvania, terminating at the Marcus Hook facility south of Philadelphia. It poses a serious safety risk to communities all along the pipeline route. It must be stopped.
We have already seen enough to know Sunoco cannot be trusted. Weeks into the construction, they have:
- Spilled drilling fluid over 90 times
- Contaminated the water supplies for 15 families in West Whiteland Township
- Punched into an aquifer, leaving us with no long-term clarity about the safety of drinking water in the area.
Sunoco Has Been Slowed Down, but Not Stopped
On July 25, a judge with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) granted an injunction to stop all construction in West Goshen, a township that has been disputing the location of a valve that Sunoco wants to install there. The next day, an Environmental Hearing Board judge issued an order that stopped all drilling across the state. A settlement was reached in August that places Sunoco’s drilling under more oversight.
All of this will delay the pipeline, and give us more time to keep organizing communities opposed to Mariner East 2. While we organize locally, we will continue to pressure Governor Wolf to do the right thing. His response to disaster so far was to say that these pipelines are necessary to live “the life we want to live.” We don’t think putting our homes, schools, water and future at risk, so that Sunoco can make billions by exporting fracked gas liquids to Europe to make plastics, is the life we want.
Shouldn’t Be Built At All
This pipeline isn't just bad while it's being built. It will do damage if it's built. Sunoco has the worst spill record of any oil pipeline company in the country, and the contents that will be carried in the Mariner East 2 are especially dangerous.
Can We Stop Them?
Yes. In places such as West Goshen and Uwchlan, Sunoco is not complying with laws specifically passed to keep us safe. According to existing local laws and regulations, all pipelines must be setback from occupied buildings far enough so that those buildings are not within a pipeline’s blast radius.
Section 85-56 B(18) of the municipal code is there to keep us safe. It reads, "A Public Utility Facility and Gas and Liquid Pipeline Facility that involve hazardous liquid and/or gas pipelines shall be setback from all occupied structures a minimum distance equal to the Pipeline Impact Radius."
This means that any pipeline which would carry hazardous liquids, such as the Mariner East 2, must be setback from all homes and schools a minimum distance equal to the blast radius. The blast radius for the ME 2 is over 1,000 feet. Sunoco is currently breaking this law in West Goshen and Uwchlan.
Enforcing this law would make constructing the pipeline exceedingly difficult. The Uwchlan Board of Supervisors can take immediate action to stop Sunoco from putting lives at risk. The Board of Supervisors has the power and authority to stop Sunoco.
Other communities along the pipeline route have the power to protect their constituents by passing and enforcing similar pipeline zoning laws. You can call on your municipality to pass a pipeline zoning ordinance, and we can help you.
What Can I Do?
We need to build a political force to let the Board of Supervisors know that not enforcing the law is not an option. Call Sam Rubin at 267-428-1905 or send an email ([email protected]) to discuss how we can build power in our community. People need to know two things: the pipeline is illegal, and the Board of Supervisors can stop it. Call them to let them know you want it enforced, and join the group of people who are standing up for safety in Uwchlan and West Goshen. Please join this effort by texting ME2 to 69866
Sunoco has already begun constructing the pipeline. While that doesn’t mean we have lost, it does mean we have to work quickly if we are to protect our communities from this dangerous pipeline. Get involved now!
The Mariner East 2 is not like a normal pipeline
It carries exceptionally dangerous ethane, propane, butane, and pentane, materials called Highly Volatile Liquids. It does not carry ‘natural gas’ that we’d typically use to heat our homes or operate a kitchen stove. When super-pressurized in the pipeline, highly volatile liquids are in the liquid state. However, once a leak occurs, these chemicals vaporize, becoming a low-lying cloud of explosive, odorless gas. They do not disperse into the air. They travel with the wind. And once they find an ignition source, they explode.
- There is no oversight of the placement of the pipeline
No state or federal agency has reviewed and permitted the siting of the pipeline. The technical construction and crossing of waterways have been permitted, but no governmental officials have reviewed whether the path of this pipeline is safe for Pennsylvania communities. Instead, Sunoco is routing this pipeline solely for its own corporate convenience. It will be built near homes, apartment buildings, and even assisted living facilities. Over 40 schools are located within its blast zone. The company has used the threat of eminent domain to bully landowners to clear trees and start construction, all for their own profits.
- Sunoco’s safety record
According to one recent evaluation of government safety records, Sunoco has had more oil leaks than any other pipeline company in the country. People in the affected communities feel like it’s only a matter of time before a disaster strikes. And they know that when it does happen, there is no way to keep them safe. There is no feasible evacuation plan if you happen to live, or send your kids to school, within the “blast zone.” And there are no adequate plans for evacuation given the population density in the affected areas.
For more information about the fight against ME2: