As reported by Southeast Pennsylvania paper the Daily Local, more than two dozen local anti – pipeline activists, organized by the ‘Mama Bear Brigade’ and Food & Water Watch – Pennsylvania, gathered in their cars to abide by social distancing recommendations while protesting Mariner East construction deemed life sustaining by Governor Tom Wolf.
Specifically, one protestor claimed “Mariner East is the exact opposite of life-sustaining and Gov. Wolf needs to rescind the waivers.”
Pipeline activists in Pennsylvania have long refused to acknowledge the value and importance of the Mariner East pipeline system to the Commonwealth. Further, opponents fail to recognize the role traditional energy sources play in their daily lives.
To start with the obvious, these protesters are gathering in their cars, most fueled by gasoline, to push back on the fossil fuel and pipeline industry. The counterintuitive nature of this action serves as a reminder that activists only oppose the use of fossil fuels and pipeline development when it is convenient for them. The same fuel they used in their cars to reach the protest and the natural gas that continues to heat their homes was likely transported by pipeline at one point.
Moreover, the Mariner East system is a critical part of the state’s energy portfolio AND workforce during the ongoing pandemic.
With rich and vast natural gas resources in Western Pennsylvania’s Marcellus / Utica shale reserves, Mariner East is the most reliable and state of the art delivery method for the resources. Liquefied natural gases transported by pipeline system are primarily delivered to the CPV Fairview Center (the first ethane to electricity plant) and the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex. These two facilities help process the natural gases into commercial and residential products that go to heat and power Pennsylvania homes and businesses.
While millions of Americans file unemployment claims, the Mariner East pipeline is still providing family – sustaining wages to the many union members seeing the system to safe completion. Laborers can then spend their wages in the local economy. Mariner East has, and will continue to be, a key driver of the state’s economy by providing jobs, creating commerce opportunities, and delivering affordable energy for Pennsylvanians.
Lastly, the ‘Mama Bear Brigade’ and other opponents often harp on the construction being a nuisance or unsafe to the public, but now they’re protesting work that would bring the project closer to completion? Governor Wolf and pipeline operator Energy Transfer have been clear, also reported in the Daily Local, that these waivers are to stabilize or complete sites already near completion so that workers aren’t required to re-do work that may be undone by remaining open to the elements. Similarly, Energy Transfer has publically supported social distancing guidelines and made it clear to its workers that safety remains priority A, as with construction of the pipeline itself.