Earlier this morning, CBS News ran a segment on the Mariner East 2 Pipeline in Pennsylvania. Mariner East 2 runs more than 350 miles across the state, and will transport important natural gas liquids once complete. The CBS story focused on a handful of local residents who express grave concerns about the pipeline operating so close to their homes, painting a scary and inaccurate portrait of this vital piece of America’s energy infrastructure.
In a five-and-a-half-minute segment that aired nationwide, CBS gave less than thirty seconds to the safety standards to which all pipelines must adhere – only going so far as to read a statement from the Pipeline’s developer, Sunoco.
While it’s true that Mariner East 2 has gone through rigorous safety examinations over the past five years during the application and permitting processes, this information fails to paint a full picture of the tremendous safety precautions that have been taken. It’s important to understand what is being done in order to ensure that our natural resources are moved in the safest, most responsible way possible.
During the construction process, miles and miles of pipe need to be welded together before being placed into the ground. Each of these welds, every single one along the entire line, is inspected by an independent third party. The welds are inspected both visually and through x-rays to ensure that they have been properly completed. This is on top of the tremendous, above and beyond safety efforts already made by Sunoco to guarantee safe construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline.
Once construction of the pipeline is complete, before a single drop of natural gas moves through the line, it is tested under more strenuous circumstances than it will experience during operation. The capacity is tested at 125% of the pressure that the pipe will experience on a day to day basis, further guaranteeing the structural integrity of our energy infrastructure.
Finally, once the pipe has been welded, tested, and laid into the ground, there are additional safety regulations and precautions put in place. All along the pipeline route, Mariner East 2 will have “Emergency Flow Restriction Devices,” an additional safety net to protect against leaks and spills. Not only do these devices give the ability to control the pipeline remotely from a control center, but they are also able to detect pressure changes along the pipe and shutdown the flow immediately.
This project is benefitting Pennsylvanians today. The project already employs thousands of trained, highly skilled union tradesman that call Pennsylvania home. It also provides local Pennsylvanian’s with increased access to affordable energy products such as propane, which many Pennsylvanian’s depend on for home heat in the winter. Mariner East also has an agreement to provide ethane to General Electric’s Competitive Power Venture’s Fairview electric generating plant in Cambria County, which will provide power to 1 million homes.
Everyone involved with the Mariner East 2 pipeline shares the same goal: safe construction of the project. For now, construction is on hold as negotiations between the pipeline developer and regulators continue. In the meantime, thousands are left without work. Show your support for the project by tweeting the hashtag #me2back2work – showing your support for the laborers waiting to get back to work safely building the Mariner East 2 pipeline.
These incredible measures taken to ensure the safety of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline all pile on top of the simple fact that pipelines are by far the safest means for transporting these natural resources. Moving natural gas by truck or train would be the next alternative, which have proven to be far riskier than a natural gas pipeline. CBS failed to paint the full picture when it comes to the safety of our nation’s energy infrastructure, as understanding the facts in a debate is more important than anything else. The GAIN coalition stands behind the Mariner East 2 Pipeline, and we’re proud to see the continued commitment to setting the bar for safety higher and higher.