SPRINGFIELD − March 20, 2020 – Sen. Tim Kearney (D – Delaware, Chester) today called for an immediate halt to construction of the Mariner East II pipeline, due to increased health risks during the COVID-19 outbreak

In a letter sent today to Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chair Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, Kearney listed three significant reasons for requesting a halt to construction during this public health crisis:

  1. Increased health risks near pipeline construction due to increased daytime population density as residents are now working and staying home
  2. Increased health risks near pipeline construction for residents over 60 and for those with pre-existing health conditions
  3. Increased health risks for pipeline workers who cannot conform to social distancing recommendations 

“The Governor’s clear intention is to halt all activity deemed not essential to the Commonwealth. You must agree that there is nothing essential about the construction of this pipeline at this time,” he wrote. “Our communities along this right of way are vulnerable even under the best of circumstances—they experience sinkholes, accidental line strikes to utility lines, and damaged water main lines and wells. Now, Incident Command and first responders must prioritize the deadly COVID-19 to protect public health and safety. I am unable to explain to our constituents why the PUC has not stopped active construction on Mariner East II when all current PennDOT and DGS construction projects have been halted.”

Kearney also sent a copy of the letter to the chairs of county governments in Delaware and Chester Counties, which are directly impacted by the ongoing pipeline construction.