DEP to host hearing on pipeline permits

By April Feagley

Daily News Staff Writer

 

Public hearings are planned relating to permit applications submitted by Sunoco Logistics, Inc. for the planned Mariner East 2 pipeline, which are currently undergoing a technical review by the stateDepartment of Environmental Protection (DEP).
 
The hearings will be hosted by the DEP, with Huntingdon County residents invited to participate, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, at the Blair County Convention Center, Altoona. Other public hearings for the south-central region are 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the Lebanon Valley Exposition Center, Lebanon, and 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the Pennsylvania
 
Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg.
 
The DEP will host similar events throughout the state.
 
“We look forward to these additional opportunities for public input and education on the many benefits of the Mariner East project and our extensive efforts to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources,” said Sunoco Logistics communications manager Jeff Shields.
 
The pipeline will cross 17 counties, including Huntingdon, following the path of the existing Mariner East 1 pipeline which spans from western Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in Delaware County. Like its counterpart, the Mariner East 2 pipeline will transport natural gas liquids.
 
According to a press release issued by the DEP, “Because these pipelines will convey liquefied natural gas, they are regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which falls under the U.S. Department of Transportation. This project requires multiple permits from DEP, including permits for earth disturbances of five acres or more (Chapter 102), and permits for proposed activities located in, along, across or projecting into a watercourse, floodway or body of water, including wetlands (Chapter 105).”
 
“This is following the standard review process. Once an application has been deemed to be complete, it moves to the technical review, which is where we are now,” said John Repetz, community relations coordinator for the southcentral regional office of the DEP. “At that time, DEP accepts comments from the public and can schedule a public hearing. In this case, the department has extended the public comment period to 60 days and will conduct five public hearings.”
 
Those who wish to offer testimony or comments during the public hearing should register in advance by contacting Repetz at (717) 705- 4904 or repetz@pa.gov.
 
“As of Tuesday afternoon, one person has registered to testify at the Altoona hearing,” Repetz said. “The purpose of this hearing is to accept public comments on DEP’s Chapter 105 Water Obstruction and Encroachment permit applications for this project. Comments should be limited to that topic only. During the hearing, each speaker will have the opportunity to present up to three minutes of verbal testimony. To ensure that all speakers have a fair and equal opportunity to present their testimony, relinquishing of time to other speakers will be prohibited and groups are asked to designate one speaker. All presenters should bring at least one copy of their comments and exhibits for submission to DEP.”
 
In addition to testimony and comments offered at the public hearings, written comments may be submitted via email or by mail through Wednesday, Aug. 24.