WEST CHESTER, PA – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold a public hearing on two proposed changes to Sunoco’s permit for the Mariner East II pipeline.
The hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at E.N. Peirce Middle School located at 1314 Burke Road in West Chester.
The hearing will deal with Sunoco’s request to change pipeline construction techniques at two drilling sites in West Whiteland Township. The company is seeking to switch methods from horizontal direct drilling (HDD) to conventional bore at one site and from HDD to a combination of conventional bore, HDD, and open trench drilling at another site.
Dinniman, in coordination with local residents, was the first to call for additional DEP hearings regarding the proposed changes in a March 4 letter to DEP Secretary Patrick McDonald.
“These are major changes in Sunoco’s plans and they have the potential for major impacts on many residents, families, and businesses in the construction area,” he said. “I encourage impacted residents and community members to come out and make their voices heard on April 30.”
Dinniman said that the company’s request to change methods appears to be linked to the recurring problems related to Mariner East II construction in the West Whiteland area.
Since last summer, its construction has resulted in the contamination of almost two-dozen private wells, damage to aquifers, potential damage to public infrastructure, and the development of multiple sinkholes that threaten private homes. Two of the sinkholes are within close proximity of Amtrak’s Keystone Line.
“We know that the underlying karst geologic formations of the area are exceptionally problematic for pipeline drilling, not to mention at least three known fault lines that are either directly in or nearby the pipeline’s path,” said Dinniman, who also serves on the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. “The question is: why did DEP allow such drilling to occur in an area where the prevalence of karst formations is well documented, especially since DEP’s own documentation shows it was aware of such potential risks?”
The proposed permit modification requires approval from DEP after the consideration of public comments. Full copies of the application for proposed modifications are available for review on DEP’s Mariner East II webpage: http://www.dep.pa.gov/…/Mariner-East-II.aspx.
According to DEP, those interested in presenting comments on April 30 will have the opportunity to present up to three minutes of verbal testimony. Relinquishing of time to other speakers is not allowed, and groups are asked to designate one speaker per organization.
DEP also requests, but does not require, those providing oral remarks bring a written copy of their comments in order to aid the transcriptionist at the hearing. Those presenting testimony during the hearing are asked to pre-register by contacting Virginia Cain, Community Relations Coordinator at 484-250-5808 or [email protected]. Priority will be given to residents from Chester County given the geographic scope of the modification applications.
***In addition, DEP has also extended the comment period from April 21, 2018, until May 11, 2018. Comments on the applications can be emailed or postal mailed to: PA Department of Environmental Protection, Southeast Regional Office, Waterway and Wetlands Program, 2 East Main Street, Norristown, Pennsylvania, 19401, [email protected].
Source: Andrew E. Dinniman (D), Pennsylvania State Senate, Senate District 19
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