December 5, 2018
Opposition activities against oil and gas pipelines — specifically aimed at Texas’ Energy Transfer — continue to increase at local levels, with organized efforts underway in Pennsylvania.
A group opposed to the nearly-completed Mariner East 2 pipeline in Pennsylvania have declared their dissatisfaction with a Houston company’s risk assessment for the line.
About 11 miles of Dallas-based Sunoco Logistics‘s Mariner East 2 cuts through Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where the local county council paid $115,000 to G2 Integrated Services to estimate the pipeline hazard risk to nearby population centers.
Sunoco Logistics Partners is a subsidiary of Dallas’ Energy Transfer LP.
While the risk analysis appears to fairly estimate the effects of an unlikely explosion along the pipeline as potentially catastrophic, G2 assessed the risk of such an explosion to be relatively low, with a 35-times-higher chance that a person will die in a house fire and a 20-times-greater chance of death in a vehicle accident than in a Mariner East 2 incident.
But one group opposed to the pipeline disputed the risk to a local newspaper, a member of the Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety, saying the results of the G2 risk assessment are “frightening.”
With a potential pipeline blast radius of 1.3 miles, the group’s Eric Friedman said, it’s “now abundantly clear that the rupture of a hazardous, highly volatile liquids transmission pipeline in Delaware County is going to be a mass casualty event. And the odds of this happening are disturbingly high.”
Friedman is urging the Delaware County Council to “take action.”
Friedman also expressed distrust for the G2 report because the accident consequences for the pipeline were determined using a program called Phast, which was developed by a Sunoco contractor.
And Friedman discounted the G2 report because it also “ignored” Sunoco’s intention to run more than one pipeline along the same Delaware County right-of-way. (See Mariner East 2X story below.)
“This omission is important because, everything else being equal, two pipelines doubles the probability of a release over a single pipeline. Doubling probability also doubles risk. Three pipelines triples the risk and so on,” Friedman told the Delaware County Daily Times.
In Chester County to the east, Mariner East 2 opponents offered a $10,000 reward back in April for information on who vandalized Sunoco equipment being used to build the pipeline because a local group. also led by Friedman, suspected that Sunoco itself may have damaged the equipment to “change the conversation” about the pipeline.
Friedman was then noted by Pennsylvania Public Radio to be associated with the Middletown Coalition of Community Safety.
An Energy Transfer/Sunoco spokeswoman dismissed as “silly” the notion that the company would have damaged its own equipment.
Protesters have been arrested while opposing Energy Transfer pipelines such as the Bayou Bridge line in Louisiana and, with a higher public profile, the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota.