The Mariner East (ME/ME2/ME2X) pipeline project began with the repurposing of an 8’’ petroleum pipeline in 2014. The original pipeline carried petroleum products from Marcus Hook to western PA for utility purposes, thus having a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CCN) from the Public Utility Commission (PUC) issued in the 1930’s. The PUC has upheld this CCN even though the majority of the products that are now moving through this pipeline are being sold for profit to European buyers.
In 2014 Sunoco repurposed this pipeline by reversing the flow to transport a new product, Highly Volatile Liquids – Ethane, Butane & Propane (HVL’s), byproducts of natural gas being extracted from Marcellus Shale fracking. These HVL’s are being exported overseas to Europe for the production of plastic. Check out INEOS Mariner East 2
Unlike petroleum products that you may be familiar with in your daily life, these products are odorless and colorless because they are being sold for the production of plastic.
The NEW ME2 and ME2X are a 20” and a 16” pipeline, under up to 1440 PSI of pressure, moving up to 700,000 barrels a day of ethane, butane, and propane — natural gas byproducts, crossing the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 23.6 miles of Chester County, including the length of Uwchlan Township. The proposed pipelines will be running as close as 25 feet from homes, businesses, and schools, including just 750 feet from Lionville Middle School. Because Pennsylvania has no siting authority overseeing the placement of pipelines, no federal or state agency has evaluated this pipeline route with respect to public safety.
Due to high pressure, the contents are “liquid” while contained inside the pipe. If leaked, they immediately convert back to their natural state, expanding into a large odorless, colorless, asphyxiating gas cloud, with over 5 times the explosive energy of an equivalent methane natural gas line.
Unlike the methane gas we cook and heat our homes with, these products are heavier than air and do not dissipate if leaked; they remain low to the ground, migrate toward low lying areas (including basements), and can travel a significant distance before igniting.
Chester County is a “high consequence area”, as defined by Sunoco/Energy Transfer Partners, meaning in the event of a leak or explosion, the consequences- injuries and fatalities- would be high.
- There are as many as 40 public and private schools within the blast zone of the Mariner East Pipeline across Pennsylvania. Downingtown East HS (DEHS), Lionville Middle School (LMS), The Marsh Creek 6th Grade Center and Shamona Creek Elementary are all within the potential blast zone. All other DASD schools are within the potential evacuation zone. St. Simon and Jude and St Peter & Paul Schools are only 100 feet away. This does not account for child care centers or facilities that care for the elderly and those with special needs. A leak near DEHS & LMS would result in 4,500 students plus staff needing to be evacuated, on foot at the busiest intersection in the county.
- Mariner East runs through the highly populated and frequented Eagleview Community/Town Center/Corporate Park
- Mariner East passes through the grounds of the Exton Mall, the Chester County Library and adjacent to Marsh Creek State Park