Groups Oppose Fracking Exports Due to Climate, Air, Water, Health Impacts
Philadelphia: Facing snow, wind, and cold, fifty protesters held a spirited rally at Sunoco Logistics headquarters in Philadelphia today. Protecting Our Waters, Clean Air Council, and 350 Philadelphia joined in pushing Sunoco Logistics to drop their plans for the Mariner East Pipeline, which would enable overseas export of natural gas liquids from the Delaware River.
In a move that Iris Marie Bloom, Executive Director of Protecting Our Waters, says is part of “growing resistance to large corporations’ destructive dreams of turning the Philadelphia area into a shale energy hub,” the organizers object to the export of natural gas liquids: “The NGLs’ life-cycle impacts on air, water, climate and health throughout extraction, processing, and transport are over the top.”
“Even while shalefield residents struggle to replace their water after it’s been ruined by shale gas drilling, spills, blowouts, waste dumping, toxic waste leaks and other problems, nobody can replace air. Nobody can replace climate – we’ve only got one. That’s why we’re committed to outright stopping fracking exports from the Mariner East pipeline. This is a human rights issue,” said Bloom.
Aarati Kasturirangan of 350 Philadelphia said, “Who stands to gain from this pipeline? Sunoco’s executives. Who stands to suffer from poor air quality, rising temperatures, surging seas, and superstorms to come? All of the people of Philadelphia. 350 Philadelphia stands with our fellow Philadelphians.”
Matt Walker of Clean Air Council said, “The Mariner East pipeline upgrades at the Marcus Hook facility will increase harmful air pollution for residents in the greater Philadelphia region, an area with high asthma rates. Philadelphia received a failing grade for air quality this year from the American Lung Association.”
The Mariner East Pipeline, if completed, would bring natural gas liquids (NGLs), propane and ethane, over 300 miles across Pennsylvania, through Southeastern PA to Marcus Hook. First, about half a million gallons a day of natural gas liquids will be exported to Norway from a Delaware River dock just across the state line in Delaware. That number will then increase to over one million gallons a day.
Sunoco plans to complete the pipeline despite the fact that three similar pipelines, including two natural gas liquids pipelines, have exploded into 300-foot tall fireballs just in the past 3 months (IL, TX, MO). At least one of those exploding pipelines is owned by Energy Transfer Partners, which owns Sunoco Logistics.
There is no evidence that this natural gas liquids pipeline would be safe for Pennsylvania residents, and tremendous evidence that it will harm human health both acutely, through air and water impacts from shale gas infrastructure; and long-term, through climate impacts.
Protesters aim to prevent the NGLs from being exported by Range Resources using the Mariner East pipeline, citing:
- Climate impacts from every phase of shale gas drilling, extraction, processing, transportation, storage, and use
- Negative health impacts from air emissions during every stage of NGL production, including drilling, fracking, fracking flowback waste, the MarkWest refinery, compressor stations and more. Multiple pathways of exposure include water, air, and food.
- Pipeline safety issues: where’s the evacuation plan for 300 miles of Mariner East pipeline? Three 300-foot fireballs in just the past three months shows this is not safe.
- Mariner East pipeline completion would harm land, trees, wildlife, and violate property rights by taking land for private profit using eminent domain.
- Pennsylvania’s air is being rapidly degraded by heavy fracking; Chester suffers from terrible environmental racism with intense air pollution, and Philadelphia gets a failing grade on air. This is the time to decrease, not increase, toxic air emissions.
- This project goes in the wrong direction altogether: as the suffering from Hurricane Katrina to Superstorm Sandy to Typhoon Haiyan shows, we must devote ourselves to a sustainable future 100%. It’s a matter of human rights. According to World Health Organization, “Besides environmental and economic damage, the ultimate impact of climate change is a toll on our most precious resource – human lives and health."
- Ordinary people like Joseph Giovannini are being and have already been displaced by toxic emissions from the MarkWest refinery in Houston, PA, the starting point of the Mariner East Pipeline. The MarkWest refinery is degrading public health.