Chesco, Delco residents impacted by Mariner East pipelines get chance to testify before PUC

Jim Melwert
October 23, 2019 - 3:16 pm
Construction for the Sunoco Mariner East pipeline continues in South Lebanon Township.

Jeremy Long/Lebanon Daily News via USA TODAY NETWORK

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WEST CHESTER, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Residents from Delaware and Chester counties who are directly impacted by the Mariner East pipelines are testifying in a two-day hearing in West Chester, and county officials hope these hearings have some teeth.

Typically, Public Utility Commission hearings would be held in Harrisburg, but for two days, the hearings are being held in West Chester to allow residents to testify closer to home. 

Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline says the hearing is before the administrative law judge.

“Who will render decision to the PUC and it has a binding effect on Sunoco. This is not just residents that are complaining publicly to the press or to their elected officials, this is the actual judge that is going to make a decision and making a recommendation to PUC," she explained. 

Among the witnesses is Eric Friedman, president of a homeowners’ association of a neighborhood along the Mariner East pipelines. 

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He called public safety packets provided by Sunoco “one size fits all,” saying the packets would be just as helpful if they said “flap your arms and fly away.”

This hearing is for residents. Expert testimony, including first responders and emergency services personnel, will testify at a hearing in Harrisburg in July. 

Kichline says county officials hope the PUC will revisit laws mandating how and when Sunoco reaches out. She says Limerick Nuclear Generating Station is required by law to notify Montgomery and Chester counties about even routine maintenance, but, she says, in cases of issues with the pipelines, they often hear from media reports or residents before rather than Sunoco.