At a recent forum, the CEO of the local refinery in south Philadelphia stated that pipeline development is key to the fossil fuel-based energy hub’s development. At the same forum, a representative of the PA Public Utility Commission stated, “We have to get gas to markets. We can do it, but it’s going to take political resolve.” [if link fails, archive found here.]
And days afterward, when residents of Middletown Township in Delaware County, concerned about the safety of the highly pressurized Mariner East II pipeline planned to go through their community, met with the Acting Secretary of the PA Dept of Environmental Protection, they were told: enough public comments have been heard about the safety concerns with the Mariner East II pipeline.
These are 3 major proponents (the fossil fuel industry, our Public Utility Commission, and the Department of Environmental Protection) pushing an agenda for more fossil fuel buildout, with no consideration of voices in the community.
Philadelphians don’t want the proposed energy hub. The suburbs and rural communities don’t like the devastation already caused by pipeline segments across our state, leaving their communities to deal with leaks and / or explosions from these pipelines at taxpayer expense.
Yet, our government appears to be siding with the energy companies. The map below shows the 12 pipelines planned for our state. Note that these are all fragmented, pipelines built in a start-stop effort, as the industry obtained permits, township by township, resident by resident. We’ve heard that residents on the same street didn’t know of a pipeline planned through their street, since only the residents whose property was impacted were contacted.
The three pipelines nearest Philadelphia are:
- the Atlantic Sunrise Project. This would bring fracked gas from the Marcellus in Northern PA, traveling 11 counties, notably in nearby Lancaster County. Local resistance is organized by Lancaster Against Pipelines, and ratcheted up after FERC approved the Williams Gas Company’s Atlantic Sunrise pipeline on earlier this month.
- the PennEast Pipeline Project. This would also bring fracked gas from the Marcellus, beginning near Wilkes-Barre and ending up by Trenton. Local resistance is organized by Stop Penn East. The PA-DEP just gave the green light on this, see PA DEP issues permits to PennEast.
- the longest project, the Mariner East II pipeline, is designed to carry highly explosive natural gas liquids (NGL), from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. This was also given the green light recently, see PA grants final permits for $2.5B Mariner East II pipeline . See also this article, which explains why the Mariner East II is more dangerous and contested by many along it’s route.
We need to learn from Standing Rock and the #NoDAPL movement to embrace non-violent tactics to defend our countryside. It’s time for all of us in Greater Philadelphia to stand with the rural communities at the front line of fracked gas pipeline buildout, which is headed to our city.
This may help you understand our #FossilFreeSEPTA campaign, crafted because  we stand in solidarity with people in rural Pennsylvania;  climate action requires a systemic reduction in fossil fuel dependencies;  Philadelphia’s local air quality issues.
With all three pipelines recently being approved, we’d like to share the set of values developed by Lancaster Against Pipelines as they ready to take a stand for their land against the Atlantic Sunrise Project; see We Stand with the Land.
There’s a lot going on. Referencing this month’s calendar of events, you’ll see there was a weekend-long nonviolent direct action training with Lancaster Against Pipelines, 2 fundraisers for Standing Rock, 1 fundraiser for Lancaster Against Pipelines, 1 rally for Standing Rock, a rally at an organic farm against the Atlantic Sunrise Project, a group of faith leaders raising the issue of water quality near fracking sites in western PA, a community strategic planning meeting on organizing to block the Mariner East 2 pipeline, 1 rally to maintain a moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin, etc.
All of these efforts need you. Find a group near you, find what moves you, and join the resistance. We need all of us, indivisible, to step up to our government and the forces pushing unwanted and unneeded pipelines through our community.
The Delaware River watershed,the source of much of our drinking water, has for years been protected from fracking. On the table now is a suggestion to lift the fracking moratorium. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network and allies are asking for a permanent ban on fracking in the Delaware River watershed. A meeting of the DRBC (Delaware River Basin Commission) is this week, on Wed 2/25 at 1:30 in Washington Crossing. We hope you can join us.
As the folks in Standing Rock have taught us, Water is Life!