Letter to the editor: Pipelines are key to realizing Pennsylvania's full benefits
Pipelines must adhere to strict state and federal regulation throughout construction, testing and infrastructure replacement to ensure system integrity. According to data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the natural gas delivery system is the safest form of energy delivery in the country.
The Marcellus and Utica shale formations provide great opportunities for Pennsylvania. But the full benefits will not be attained if we do not build the pipelines needed to transport resources to market. A number of key infrastructure projects have been proposed or are in construction right now across the state, and many of our members are on the job today.
But unnecessary regulatory actions, beyond what is normally required, are causing increased delays and environmental risk. One example is a recent agreement among Sunoco, the Department of Environmental Protection and environmental groups that is causing horizontal directional drilling to start and stop, start and stop — something industry experts agree has the potential for greater harm.
Uncertainty around Pennsylvania's regulatory policies is hampering development of pipeline infrastructure and hindering our ability to realize the gain from these projects.
James T. Kunz Jr.
The writer is business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66.