Chester County’s Commissioners say that, after many requests, the County’s Department of Emergency Services received a pipeline emergency management plan Wednesday from Energy Transfer Partners/Sunoco that they call ridiculous. The Commissioners say they are highly frustrated by the builder of the Mariner East 2 and 2x Pipelines, calling the document they received heavily redacted. In a press release, Chester County’s Director of the Department of Emergency Services Mike Murphy said that: “only about five percent of the plan is usable.” Sunoco had previously agreed to provide a plan, via the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The Commissioners say that a significant portion of that plan has been redacted by that organization, which falls under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Commissioner Terence Farrell said: “Because the document we received withholds critical safety information we are exploring further legal action to get what our first responders really need, and what our citizens deserve.”
In addition to County government officials, other elected officials and school districts since last year have requested independent comprehensive risk assessments and reached out to Sunoco to gather pipeline emergency safety information they say would allow the Department of Emergency Services to better protect its citizens, including children, in the wake of a pipeline disaster. Those working on behalf to the County have gone through the formal process by contacting the company directly, as well as going through the Public Utility Commission and PEMA.
The county says the intense training with which the Department of Emergency Services and its first responders undergo relies on having complete plans and procedures in place. They say that the County has also purchased combustible gas detectors for its fire departments and other specific equipment for its Haz Mat team.
WCHE has reached out to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration but has not yet received comment. WCHE will update our listeners as more information on this story becomes available.