The Great Mariner East 2 Debate

It now appears the battle lines are drawn.

Call it the Battle of Mariner East 2.

For weeks we have been detailing the grumbling in the community over Sunoco Logistics' plans to build a new pipeline to carry hundreds of thousands of Marcellus Shale byproducts such as ethane, propane and butane across the state, through an 11-mile swath of Delaware County, to the former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook.

The plan has a huge economic upside, including the prospect of hundreds of good-paying jobs, as well as reversing the economic fortunes of the lower end of the county, which was driven to its knees when the company decided to get out of the refinery business and shutter its iconic refinery.

On the other side there is a clear distress among some in the community on a number of factors, including safety and property values. They also are less than thrilled that some municipalities and school districts entered into agreements with Sunoco Logistics without much in the way of public comment, or at least what they would have liked.

They mobilized, even forming a grassroots group to oppose the plan, in particular the idea of allowing a new pipeline to be built just a stone's throw away from Glenwood Elementary School off Pennell Road in Middletown.

The township now seems poised to spend a good chunk of money on a new quantitative risk assessment study of the proposal.

Today, the company responded.

They discounted many of the concerns and defended their plan - and Sunoco Logistics' record.

I've said it before, and I will say it again here.

This is the most important economic story in Delaware County - and maybe the entire region.

It has a huge economic upside.

But it also has sparked legitimate concerns.

Don't look for this discussion to end anytime soon.