EXTON, PA — Rep. Danielle Friel Otten was joined by more than 220 members of the public in submitting a letter to the Public Utility Commission on Wednesday, outlining recommendations for pipeline safety regulations.
The unified statement, drafted with help from community members and signed by constituents and other Pennsylvanians, was submitted in response to the Commission’s request for public comment on a proposed rulemaking regarding hazardous liquid public utility safety standards.
Otten and her staff worked with constituents impacted by Mariner East pipeline construction to write the letter, which contains specific recommendations for regulations surrounding all aspects of pipeline safety, including construction methods, leak detection, public notification, liability and property rights-of-way. Maggie Quinn and Rebecca Britton of Uwchlan Safety Coalition led the efforts on the community side.
“Our constituents have lived with and experienced these pipelines and the shortcomings of current regulations,” Otten said. “They shared their experiences with various aspects of pipeline construction and operation and helped us identify, research, and cite these recommendations to create a list that encompasses the most pressing concerns of Pennsylvanians impacted by pipelines.”
By working with the community to create a collaborative response to the PUC, Otten hoped to make it easier for community members who want to provide public comment but may be daunted by the process.
“The members of this community very much want to have their voices heard on this issue, but the comment submission process may be intimidating for some, or not as user-friendly as it could be,” Otten said. “As an elected official, I see it as my role to help make state government more accessible, and to provide the easiest path possible to give constituents a voice in matters directly affecting their health, safety and property.”
Otten’s statement was submitted on Aug. 28, the original deadline for public comment set by the PUC. However, the PUC announced that it has extended the deadline to Sept. 11 in response to a request made by the County of Chester. Members of the public wishing to weigh in on the proposed regulation changes now have a second opportunity to sign on to Otten’s statement or submit their own comments through the PUC website.
Current PA Public Utility Code focuses primarily on the regulation of natural gas pipelines. Amending the code would enable the PUC to more comprehensively regulate public utilities that transport petroleum products and other hazardous liquids in intrastate commerce.
Source: Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, 155th Legislative District
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