Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Battle of Mariner East 2: Sunoco Logistics wins

What very well could be the most important economic story in Delaware County - if not the region - just took a huge step forward. The state Department of Environmental Protection gave the green light for Sunoco Logistics to being construction on their massive Mariner East 2 pipeline plans.

The company will build a pipeline that will span the state, from the border with West Virginia and spanning the width of the state, ending with the final 11.7 miles across western Delaware County. The new pipeline will transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of byproducts from the state's Marcellus Shale regions, ethane, butane and propane.

Its final destination will be the iconic former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook, which the company is converting into what many hope will be the energy hub for the entire Northeast. The material will be stored at the site, then loaded onto ships for delivery to both domestic and international customers.

Sunoco Logistics already has more than 200 workers at the site, with the promise of more, along with a couple thousand construction workers. The economic importance of the project cannot be understated. Maybe that's why business and political leaders were doing cartwheels late yesterday afternoon when word came in that DEP had signed off on the plan.

Not nearly as enthused, as you might expect, are the opponents of the plan, including the grassroots organization Middletown Coalition for Community Safety, which issued a statement last night expressing disappointment with state approval and what they claim is a lack of opportunity for public comment on the project. They have voiced concerns for property values and safety. They are especially outraged that the path of the new pipeline will take it within a few hundred feet of the Glenwood Elementary School in Middletown.

There is a key phrase noted in the DEP announcement of their ruling. They vowed to hold Sunoco Logistics accountable for the pipeline operation and safety.

My guess is that citizens will be doing the same.

You can read our story on the DEP ruling here.

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