Sunday Punch: Shut down Mariner East II, for good

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By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

Would you allow a five-year-old to run amuck in your neighborhood with a grenade? I’d like to think not, as the odds of it ending well are pretty small.

So, allowing Sunoco/Energy Transfer Partners, a corporation who acts nearly as responsibly as a five-year-old, to continue building a pipeline across Chester County, near homes, schools and retirement communities is a good idea?

Well, obviously not.

It is time for Gov. Tom Wolf and the state Department of Environmental Protection to put a final end to this mess and halt once and for all the construction of Mariner East II. For that matter, the construction may have destabilized Mariner East I, so that pipeline may also need to be shuttered for good as well.

It’s time.

For a long time, I felt like the jobs and economic impact on the region outweighed the risks of building the new pipeline. I can’t lie: I was somewhat influenced by talking points propagated by some local Democrats about needing to stand up for union jobs in the region and not succumb to the “crazies” who were talking about stopping the pipeline cold.

Well, it turned out that the pro-pipeline Democrats may have been bought off, while it was the so-called “crazies” who really had the sanest — and smartest — take on the whole situation. Leading that effort for safety and accountability has been state Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-19) who has been a vocal, active and effective critic of the project from early in the process.

Let’s start this basic premise: Energy Transfer Partners is lousy at doing its job. From a corporate standpoint, they’re the Merlino Crime Family (you remember, the “Gang who couldn’t shoot straight”) of corporations: criminal in intent, incompetent in execution. We’ve had sinkholes, wells contaminated and more ridiculous lies a than a drunken golf tournament.

They’ve bullied residents who’ve seen their neighborhoods ripped up — and are rightly questioning whether proper care is being taken with a pipeline that could level an area of a mile or more if it explodes. With each sinkhole and screw up by Sunoco/ET such an accident on a functioning pipeline is no longer a matter of if, but of when.

When political leaders like Dinniman questioned the management and safety of the project, their public relations and lobbying arm (who impressively, sound like three year-olds) called Dinniman “Tony Soprano” suggesting he was some sort of mobster, albeit, a conflicted TV mobster from the HBO series. While Dinniman was a long a lone voice in the wind, a large number of elected officials in both parties now, at minimum, are calling for a stop of construction to evaluate and redo some of the studies done prior to construction. Others have called for the project to be abandoned. Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan has launched a criminal investigation into the matter.

ETP’s tactics to vilify the opponents of the pipeline aren’t working, any more than its efforts to prevent sinkholes, which again happened about a week ago in Middletown, just as work resumed on the project and Mariner East I reopened for the first time in two months.

Here’s the bottom line:

The time for pauses and new studies was a long time ago.

There is one — and only one — solution. End, once and for all, Mariner East II, then announce a 24-month shutdown of Mariner East I, and then only reopen it when it can be proven safe (and not by Energy Transfer Partners, but by independent third parties).

The time has come.

Mariner East II must be stopped and the company and its executives must be held responsible and liable for the company’s actions.


Speaking of awful, let us take up state House Bill 286, which would punish doctors for declining to treat children whose parents decided not to vaccinate them.

As the sudden and worsening measles outbreak shows, the anti-vaccine movement (based on essentially, lies) has led to putting others at risk — especially those born in the 1960s who got some of the original vaccines which are proving to be less effective (and will now likely be getting new, additional vaccines because the disease is starting to spread). As Mumps is also on the rise — see the recent outbreak at Temple — it’s not a stretch to see fun, deadly diseases like Small Pox make a comeback, thanks to these knuckleheaded anti-vaccine twits.

Instead of punishing parents for what is, essentially, child abuse, sponsor State Rep. Darryl Metcalfe (who continues to demonstrate what an awful human being he is), wants to punish doctors and their staffs instead, by forcing them to be exposed to these little Typhoid Marys and Joes.

More astonishing, there are 15 GOP co-sponsors for this horror show of a bill.

From the party that wants to protect bakers from making cakes for gay couples because it hurts their fee-fees, Republicans want to expose doctors and their staffs (and other patients) to God knows what diseases to score political points among the moronic.

Let’s be clear:

The Earth is round.

The United States landed a man on the moon in 1969.

Vaccines do not cause autism.

Global warming is real and at least partially caused by man’s carbon emissions.

Science is real.

Parents who don’t vaccinate their kids should live with the consequences, not expect the rest of us to do so. Period.


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