Role of WWT

The Role of West Whiteland Township in the Mariner East Pipeline Project

Why hasn’t West Whiteland stopped Sunoco from converting Mariner East 1 to natural gas liquids (NGLs) or from building Mariner East 2 in our community?  

Because West Whiteland Township did not have any regulatory authority over the repurposing of Mariner East 1 and has not had any regulatory authority over Sunoco’s proposed construction of Mariner East 2. West Whiteland Township does not have enforcement or regulatory authority over the location of underground transmission pipelines, or whether a pipeline is constructed by horizontal directional drilling (HDD) or open trench construction, or the type of product that will flow through the new pipelines or any of the existing pipelines. To the extent there are regulations for underground transmission pipeline siting, methods of construction or use, they are enforced by federal and state agencies.

At the same time, the Township takes seriously our responsibility to inform and educate our residents and businesses. The Board of Supervisors invited the community to a public listening session on February 14, 2108, with more sessions to follow and hosted a public meeting on March 19th for the public to ask questions of state regulators. To receive announcements about future meetings, join our eNews mailing list and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Township Actions:

Spring 2019: The Board of Supervisors commissioned a report from Accufacts Inc. to get an overview of the regulatory environment for pipeline safety regulations at the state level and recommendations for areas to focus on for improvement in Pennsylvania. The report is a first step, serving to better inform Township advocacy for enhanced pipeline safety regulations. The next step will be to work with others to advocate for upgrades to state regulations - and the resources to effectively enforce those regulations - that will increase the safety of pipelines throughout Pennsylvania.

On November 16, 2018, PHMSA replied to the Board of Supervisor's October 30 letter regarding the hydrostatic testing of their 12" pipeline.

On October 30, 2018, the Board of Supervisors sent letters to the PA Public Utility Commission and the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration requesting that Sunoco repeat the hydrostatic test of their 12” pipeline.  The letter is the same as that previously sent to Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

On September 4, 2018 PHMSA replied to the Board of Supervisors' letter regarding concerns about the proposed re-purposing of an existing 12-inch Sunoco Logistics pipeline from petroleum products to natural gas liquids (NGLs).

On July 20, 2018, the West Whiteland Township Board of Supervisors sent letters to the US. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) seeking information about Sunoco's plans to repurpose an existing 12” pipeline to transport natural gas liquids.  The 12" pipeline previously carried refined petroleum products but has not been in use recently in West Whiteland.  In June 2018, Sunoco notified PHMSA of their plans to repurpose that pipeline to carry natural gas liquids as a way to allow Sunoco to meet its customer obligations on the Mariner East 2 pipeline while work on the Mariner East system continues, including the re-evaluation of existing construction plans
for some of the horizontal directional drills; and to make any appropriate modifications. When construction is completed, the 12-inch line will be returned to refined products service.  When construction is completed, Sunoco plans to return the 12-inch line to refined products service.  Sunoco also provided information about this proposed changed to the Township.

The Board of Supervisors would like more information about the regulatory review process at the federal and state levels such as: What approvals are needed? And, if the pipeline is repurposed, what steps would be taken to ensure it could safely operate at high pressure carrying natural gas liquids so close to homes, businesses and gathering places such as schools and churches?  

On June 1, 2018, the BOS submitted a letter to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in support of Senator Dinniman’s emergency petition and complaint against Sunoco and asking the PUC to uphold the Administrative Law Judge’s Order suspending Mariner East operations and construction. 

On May 11, 2018, West Whiteland submitted comments about modifications Sunoco has requested for erosion and sedimentation control permits issued by the PA Department of Environmental Protection.