Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The two sides of the Battle of Mariner East 2

There are two sides to every story.

I try to remind people of that little fact all the time.

Take the burning debate raging around construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline.

I'm not the most popular guy these days with opponents of Sunoco's plan transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of volatile gases such as ethane, butane and propane across the width of Pennsylvania - and Delaware County and Chester counties - to the old Sunoco refinery complex in Marcus Hook.

I have heard their concerns. In fact, I have sided with them a number of times on our editorial page when it comes to this project.

But, as always, there is another side to the story.

Sunoco has always countered the arguments against the pipeline with assurances that it is being constructed, and will be operated to the highest standards and safety concerns of the industry.

And they always add something else. There is a potential huge economic upside to this project.

This week, just a few days after seeing construction on the project shut down across the state by the Department of Environmental Protection because of a series of problems, they issued a new report that doubled down on those economic issues. Literally.

The report by the Philly group Econsult Solutions Inc. - paid for, by the way, by Sunoco - doubles the economic impact of Mariner East 2, to a cool $9 billion. That's up from the projected $4.2 billion a few years ago.

Our front page yesterday - which screamed $9 Billion Baby!' did not enthrall those who oppose the project, who see what construction has done in their neighborhoods, and who question the sanity of putting this pipeline in densely populated neighborhoods, even close to schools.

They are right. The economic benefits do not necessarily outweigh the economic benefits.

In fact, we point that out in today's editorial.

Two sides to every story, right?

You can read our editorial here.

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