Dear Mr. Dinniman; You’re Full of It When It Comes to Pipeline Safety

Nicholas Romano
Chester County Landowner

Chester County resident Nick Romano challenges Senator Andy Dinniman’s pipeline safety assertions pointing out they’re short on facts and long on hyperbole.

Back in November and March I wrote two letters to Senator Dinniman challenging his demagoguery on the subject of pipeline safety. They were, of course, to no avail as Dinniman is on a political pandering mission and continues to attack pipelines. The pipeline safety record, however, is excellent compared to other modes of transportation, as any review of the facts will quickly reveal.

pipeline safety

Pipeline in Upper Uwchlan Township

I live in Upper Uwchlan Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  My 2-acre property has right-of-ways for Buckeye, Enterprise and Sunoco (both Mariner East 1 and Mariner East 2) pipelines. Here are the points I made in my two letters to Dinniman.

Since it seems our American culture and industry has been hijacked by unfettered activism and political showmanship, it’s no surprise that the assertions you make in your various letters and communication are false.  In fact, you rarely cite precise examples of anything, and simply feed your minuscule activist constituency with political soundbites and rhetoric to get them worked up.  For example, you recently posted a tweet stating “…Sunoco and ETP have an abysmal track record when it comes to public safety…”

Why don’t you elaborate, Mr. Dinniman?  What is that record, exactly?

Since you don’t seem to have any facts and choose to simply perpetuate the new social-justice attacks on the energy industry, please allow me to share a few facts, ideas and comments which might deserve some rational consideration by a State Senator and community leader.

First, you represent a very small minority of folks who believe that pipelines are dangerous and should be barred from operating entirely. What a reckless proposition supported by zero evidence. You and your peers campaign with dumb slogans about “making the pipeline companies pay.”

Consider the millions of barrels of products that have been transported through the local Buckeye, Enterprise and Sunoco pipelines….many over 100 years old. These pipelines were built on rural farm land and existed long before you and me were even born. They represent parts of our vast American energy infrastructure.

So, before you go off half-cocked attacking good companies and hard-working citizens while forming activist politician partnerships, you should consider some of the additional factors below. You should also be responsibly and professionally representing all of your constituency, including the businesses and pipeline companies given the opportunity to work in our state.

How many people have been killed in Chester County or Pennsylvania as a result of Sunoco pipeline failures? What about the Buckeye and Enterprise pipelines? You pick the timeline… 20 years, 50 years, 100 years? Have you lobbied for the shutdown of PECO and other utility gas providers throughout the state “to keep the children safe” as you say?

Your assertions about pipeline safety are baseless and simply demagogic attacks on the energy industry. I wonder what motivates you to arrive at such ridiculous conclusions? As I’ve had this email in draft for quite some time, since I wanted to give it thoughtful consideration, there have been a few other notable household gas explosions. In the past few months an entire Massachusetts town was destroyed as a result of faulty public utility gas distribution systems.

In fact, to cite every explosion in this country related to public utility gas distribution would require encyclopedias of footnotes and references. On the other hand, notable examples of death and destruction related to national pipeline infrastructure are minuscule, however unfortunate.  Check it out at your convenience.

Precisely what experience do you have to evaluate and levy opinions on the competency and records of companies such as Sunoco? I venture to say you have no experience, schooling, training, vocational or any knowledge whatsoever from which to garner the crazy assertions you propagate through your protester and media-friendly groups…such as The Daily Local News.

The energy industry as a whole operates very complex systems, refineries, pipelines and technology which are standards-based and adopted with the strictest safety considerations of any industry in the world. The systems and materials meet uncompromising standards. The people doing the work are trained to uncompromising standards. The tools of the trade are most advanced in the world. But, Senator Dinniman doesn’t approve of the work they do.  Amazing.

I suppose all the endless amounts of permits and procedures companies like Sunoco are regulated by…and the folks responsible for all that important regulatory framework…also don’t have a clue, according to Senator Dinniman.  What an insult…lodged by a politician.  The energy industry has been absent the input of Senator Dinniman for centuries….how unfortunate.  But, now, Senator Dinniman is going to disrupt a business who was granted specific regulatory approval to build the subject project.

pipeline safety

The other side of the street…

Finally, I would like to point out that your pipeline activism has other consequences. The men and women employed to build the pipeline have their livelihoods disrupted. The communities and businesses that rely on the business of the pipeline projects are impacted.  People like me who are investors in the energy industry are adversely impacted.  Your irresponsible activities certainly affect my direct and substantial investment in Energy Transfer.

But, this has no bearing or consideration by Senator Dinniman and his tiny faction of noise makers. Even my own township, who I otherwise hold in quite high regard for their management and professionalism, tout their “signing on to Senator Dinniman’s cause.”  Disturbing.

Nobody wants shoddy work or public infrastructure that is unsafe or kills people.  And people make mistakes.  And sometimes complex mechanical systems like directional boring don’t go precisely as planned.  But, in the end, they are operating to a high set of standards and correcting their errors.

As for my experience with Sunoco, Enterprise and Buckeye, I have never experienced anything but professional and responsible interactions with them.  And as it relates directly to public safety, pipelines are public-private infrastructure, and there’s a specific responsibility on our numerous government and community leaders to work alongside these projects from the beginning to establish procedures and educate the public.  It’s unacceptable and irresponsible for those entities to attack the project, while failing to have considered these things when the project was being planned and permitted.

I hope, for the sake of due-process and all those affected by your efforts to attack the energy industry, that Energy Transfer prevails in its construction of the approved pipeline systems permitted by the federal and respective state governments.  Their multi-billion-dollar project was lawfully permitted and should absolutely be able to safely come on line.

Let me also share a couple more examples of actual death and destruction resulting from the transportation of fuel products on our public roads. Check out recent examples here and here of gasoline tankers that have exploded, for instance.  While I don’t really have a dog in this hunt (I’m just a pipeline landowner with positive view and experience with all three pipeline companies and a long-term investor in Energy Transfer and other energy companies), I do empathize with all the people who work and support that industry and will eventually improve Marcus Hook, hopefully bringing some prosperity back to those people.  I get the feeling you don’t share my sentiments, though.

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14 thoughts on “Dear Mr. Dinniman; You’re Full of It When It Comes to Pipeline Safety

    • Totally irrelevant links – so typical. Sinkholes are common for all sorts of reasons in limestone areas and the financial dispute with Williams speaks for itself.

      • Make-up serves the same purpose as deceptive people Tom. It is used to hide the truth or used in beautifying a lie

  1. Pingback: Chester County Resident Corrects Sen. Dinniman on Pipeline Safety Facts - PA Alliance for Energy

  2. Pingback: Pennsylvanians Deserve the Facts – Energy Transfer

  3. You are invested in the energy industry. Say no more. I’m invested in the energy industry too but more invested in our safety.
    1. It is what is being transferred through this pipeline that is the issue. This line runs along and under neighborhoods and schools. Is the risk, which was at the threshold in our assessment, worth an accident with potentially horrible consequences in densely populated areas? I think not.
    2. ETP fails to care about impacts of this work on residents. Sinkholes are one issue. Water is another. We live 1000 ft from the pipeline, and where ETP is performing horizontal drilling. Our aquifer may be affected even though we don’t live close enough to have ETP cover this cost of testing. This means repeatedly paying to have our well water tested to be able to prove any contamination to our drinking water as a result of the pipeline work. Water buffaloes provided for those closer to the pipeline have already resulted in hospitalization for nearby neighbors. Digging at a local elementary school, the pipeline was hit because it was not placed as deep as indicated in the specs – ETP like to blame their contractor rather than assuming ultimate responsibility There is seismic activity at the nearby quarry. Has ETP considered this risk? I could go on but won’t. They do not have our confidence. And
    3. Eminent domain for highly explosive product that gets shipped overseas to make PLASTICS? Don’t add odor for leak detection because your client doesn’t want plastics to smell? Give me a break.

    Please forgive me for not being an expert in the field. I have however learned a lot about this over the past couple of years and appreciate that someone somewhere is listening and trying to give this a voice.

    • I think you’re vastly overstating the risks although I appreciate that you’re making civil and cogent remarks. You are a fifth of a mile away and you think you have to test your water? I live that close to a pipeline and have for many years. I have no fears of it whatsoever, based on the fact it’s been there for decades and decades with nary a single problem. You have sinkholes in your area and that can happen building a house or for no reason at all. Are we to halt all homebuilding? You also act like getting to product to market for export is not a public good. It is and it benefits all.

      • Thanks for your response. Water concerns related mostly to horizontal drilling. Nobody can say where the aquifer that our well draws from is located. Claiming eminent domain for a product that goes overseas doesn’t sound like it benefits all, in my opinion. The type of gas and pressure is vastly different than the prior pipeline that we have been fine living next to for 16 years. ETP won’t add color or odor to the gas, so it appears that people living in blast zones take all the risk.

    • 33,000 people die on our nation’s highways annually. Where is the righteous indignation about that? Planes fall out of the skies from 37,000 ft occasionally, yet civilization accepts the risks. Prescription drugs kill thousands yearly. The anti crowd demands, for some strange reason, that nat gas be held to a standard of perfection and zero risk. That is delusional and calls for some real investigation into WHO is supplying the funding for this effort to kill the U.S. energy industry like this U.S. Senate report does – http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/6ce8dd13-e4ab-4b31-9485-6d2b8a6f6b00/chainofenvironmentalcommand.pdf Billionaire elites need to be hauled into the halls of Congress and our nation’s courts and harshly questioned about their real motives. Greed is at the top of the list. It would be no surprise to find that these “philanthropic” foundations are heavily invested in “renewable” energy. The topic of Russian involvement in this issue is self explanatory given the fact that they would love to see our nat gas industry crippled. The argument is easily made that the folks running these foundations are the Russian’s useful idiots.

  4. Yeh me too. Sold his soul and I knew it the first time I saw it. Now another sinkhole. Buy you again will day it’s not uncommon. BS. It’s happening for a reason. Money in buying evil. Why don’t they just run it above ground. Same risk.

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