Constant dollars

BAKER: Changes to Keep Chester County Environmental Safety

June 1, 2021

The pipelines that run through Chester County are an ongoing debate. This region has undergone massive transformation over the past decades. What was once farmland just outside of a major American city has radically transformed into a number of bustling suburban communities.

As this area has moved from a rural area to further development, pipeline corridors remain and must continue to operate to meet our growing energy needs.

Through projects like Mariner East, economic investments flow into our communities, citizens have jobs, and taxpayer dollars are reinvested in the local community to strengthen our schools, parks and other public projects. Some like to say that to be in favor of Mariner East is to oppose our community and our local environment, when in fact projects like this support us.

Pennsylvania’s emissions are declining every year because natural gas and other energy products, produced right here in Pennsylvania, replace coal. To continue supporting this industry, we need to build more pipeline infrastructure. Pipelines are safer than other means of transportation and are more environmentally friendly.

It took quite a long time to build the Mariner East pipeline. It’s time to end the legal and regulatory delays and complete the project.

Most recently, pipeline developer Mariner East submitted new construction plans to a location in Chester County to change the installation method near Marsh Creek Lake. The objective of the proposed change is to complete construction in a way that ensures the safety of the local environment and communities according to the new realities.

Construction was halted last year at the site following an accidental return (IR) that impacted a stream feeding Lake Marsh Creek. In order to minimize the impact at ground level, the original plans were to perform horizontal directional drilling (HDD) at this location. Hard drives are often a preferred method of construction in developed areas, but the downside is that inadvertent returns are always possible and will sometimes occur. The new construction method is an open trench where the pipeline is lowered into the trench and covered. This change will eliminate the potential for future accidental returns of water and non-toxic materials such as bentonite.

Once DEP approves the new plan, otherwise known as the “major change,” it will be one of the last links to fully connect the Mariner East network, which stretches 307 miles west to east. across Pennsylvania. The open trench method eliminates the potential for inadvertent return and will address the unique geology of this area with minimal disturbance to the community. When completed, this infrastructure project will prove invaluable to the entire Commonwealth of Nations.

Over the past decade, energy has provided Keystone State and the surrounding Appalachian region with an abundance of natural resources, jobs, and economic growth. Mariner East is just another example of how important infrastructure is to the region, as it will transport natural gas throughout Pennsylvania, providing reliable and affordable power to surrounding communities.

The energy industry in Pennsylvania has had a tremendous economic impact within the state, as it now supports more than 320,000 jobs and contributes more than $ 45 billion to the economy. By using natural gas, found here at home, and phasing out other sources such as coal, the United States is leading the world in reducing emissions. Energy-related carbon dioxide (C02) emissions in the United States fell 2.8% in 2019 from 2018, as coal and fuel oil were replaced by natural gas, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

There is no doubt about the positive benefits Mariner East will bring to the Commonwealth and the importance of completing this last leg effectively. This milestone for Pennsylvania will pave the way for future infrastructure projects and provide a stable source of employment for skilled pipeline workers and economic prosperity in Keystone State.

Now is the time to approve the remaining permits and get this work done.

The Delaware Valley Journal provides unbiased local reporting for suburbs of Philadelphia in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. For more stories from the Delaware Valley Journal, visit

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