Lack of a publicly-available Emergency Response Plan heightens potential for catastrophe
Harrisburg, PA − March 11, 2019 – Earlier today, Senator Tim Kearney joined lawmakers across Delaware County and Chester County in sending a letter to Governor Wolf urging a moratorium on the operation and transmission of Natural Gas Liquids and related products through the Mariner East pipeline system until more information is made public to allow for the creation of safety procedures across all affected communities, school districts, and first responder offices to be used in the case of an emergency.
“A comprehensive emergency response plan is something that should have happened on day one,” said Senator Kearney. “Right now, we have these incredibly dangerous materials being transported through some of the most densely populated portions of the state. We have some of the best emergency responders in the country. Asking them to be on the front lines without a comprehensive plan of what we’re up against with highly explosive materials puts them, as well as individuals, families, and children at extreme risk.”
“It’s not just the first responders. Our school districts don’t know what to do in the event of a leak. ‘Should we evacuate uphill or downhill? East or west? Shelter in place or get as far away as you can?’” Senator Kearney continued. “It’s a terrifying scenario, and we’re putting our foot down and saying, ‘This needs to stop until we know more; until we all know what we’re dealing with, what to expect, and how to stay safe.’ We’re not just going to let a preventable tragedy occur, and then look back at what we could have done.”
Chester County Emergency Services and local school districts along the pipeline, including Downingtown Area School District, Rose Tree Media School District and West Chester Area School District have requested Energy Transfer Partners subsidiary SPLP to provide its Emergency Response Plan for the Mariner East project, which the responders and school districts need to complete their comprehensive All Hazards Emergency Response Plans and fulfill their statutory requirements under Title 35 of state law.
The letter urges Wolf to preserve the health, welfare and safety of constituents who live, work, and raise their families in the high-consequence areas of Chester and Delaware counties within the impact radius of Mariner East.
The letter was signed by state Reps. Steve Barrar, Carolyn Comitta, Friel Otten, Kristine Howard, Tim Hennessey, John Lawrence, Chris Quinn, Christina Sappey, Melissa Shusterman, Dan Williams, Leanne Krueger as well as state Sens. Andy Dinniman, Katie Muth and Tim Kearney.
Senator Tim Kearney is a longtime community leader in southeastern Pennsylvania, chairing the Swarthmore Borough Planning Commission for seven years and serving his second term as Mayor until his recent election to the Pennsylvania State Senate. Under Tim’s leadership, Swarthmore has become a leader in environmental protection and sustainability practices, fair and equitable policing practices, and LGBTQ equality. He’s proud of initiating an Aging in Place Taskforce to ensure the vitality of Swarthmore and its senior population. Tim is a member of the American Institute of Architects, Mayors for Peace, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Climate Mayors, Mayors for Solar Energy, Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination, We Are Still In – Climate Action, and Mayors for Solar Power. Senator Tim Kearney lives in Swarthmore Borough with his wife, Claudia. They have two grown children who both attended public schools in Delaware County. The 26th District includes a large part of Delaware County and parts of Chester County.