We are super excited to welcome our newly elected township supervisors, Bill Miller & Mayme Baumann. At the first meeting of the year, among the regular business of the township, attendees were updated on several Mariner East-related issues:
The township has appointed a new Solicitor, Mark Freed. Mark is a 19 year resident of Chester County, a former township supervisor in Tredyffrin Township and has extensive expertise in the world of municipal law, pipelines and specific experience with the Mariner East project.
The supervisors outlined that they have so far seen a full demobilization of all construction in Uwchlan due to the January 3rd DEP Suspension Order. They explained that they are only required to suspend construction on activities permitted by their DEP permits that are mostly related to drilling, erosion control, and water crossing. Activities like welding are still technically allowed, but they seem to have suspended all work for the time being. The timeline for the suspension is unknown. It could take weeks or it could take months.
The board has given, Solicitor Freed full authority to pursue action against Sunoco, should activities resume and they are considering filing an injunction order. At this moment, that is not happening due to the DEP suspension order.
2 different requests were submitted by Sunoco before the suspension order was filed.
Devon Drive Road Closure – to string out the pipeline for the pullback from Carlton Place pit to Whitford Rd. This would require a 2 – 3-week detour and make Devon Drive closed to traffic 24/7. Downingtown Area School District has approved this and plans to relocate bus stops. The benefit to residents of this measure is that it will speed up the process of pull through and reduce the amount of time that residents deal with vibration and noise from the operation.
24-hour Generators – to operate mud machine when temperatures drop so that equipment does not freeze. The generators they are requesting run with a temperature gauge and automatically turn on when the temperature drops below a certain threshold. These generators are generally not manned around the clock and can run around the clock at approximately 79 decibels.
No action has been taken on approving these requests at this time. The township is open to feedback from residents who will be affected by the road closure and generators. Dan Daley, the township engineer, said he is willing to make the plans that were submitted accessible for residents to review and he would take feedback into account when discussing with Sunoco.
Due to the DEP halt on construction, operations may not resume for several months. The township is dealing with issues and requests related to Sunoco and Mariner East as they come in and will continue to work with the community for input and information.
Uwchlan Safety Coalition has also been working with Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety and Senator Dinneman’s office on a citizen’s commissioned comprehensive risk assessment. Those interested in participating should contact Don Vymazal of Senator Dinniman’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (610) 692-2112.
Part of this effort is to help with lobbying legislators to pass the bi-partisan pipeline legislation package that Senator Dinniman (D) and Senator Rafferty (R) have proposed in order to ensure that something like this does not affect us or our Pennsylvania neighbors in this way again.
Adelphia has already begun to solicit easements from Chester County residents to put a similar project through the area. While Adelphia does not affect Uwchlan directly, several of our neighboring townships will begin to experience what we have been going through here in Uwchlan. As more HVL pipelines are constructed throughout our communities with no siting authority and very little regulatory oversight, more schools, more neighborhoods, and more senior living facilities become vulnerable. More and more people will be living, working and playing in what the industry calls, “high consequence areas”, exponentially increasing the probability of a local catastrophe.