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Gov. Wolf: pipelines necessary to ‘live the life we want’

Gov. Tom Wolf

Tom Downing / WITF

Speaking Thursday at the state Capitol, Gov. Tom Wolf says pipelines are necessary to "live the life we want to live," and transporting natural gas products should be done as safely as possible.

Governor Tom Wolf is addressing public concerns about pipeline safety, after construction on a major natural gas liquids line was halted by a state judge.

Speaking Thursday on WITF’s Smart Talk, Wolf noted pipelines are an integral part of modern life, while stressing the importance of safety.

Wolf says he’s spoken directly with Matthew Ramsey, Chief Operating Officer of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Mariner East 2 pipeline. Construction on the project was recently suspended for two weeks, following water contamination incidents and environmental violations by the builder, Sunoco.

“I have spoken personally with the CEO of the pipeline company to express the concerns and dissatisfaction that I’m hearing from constituents,” says Wolf.

Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott says the call between the governor and Ramsey took place in mid-July but would not elaborate on the conversation.

The governor also addressed the broader natural gas infrastructure build out happening across Pennsylvania.

“If we’re going to live the life we want to live, with the things we have here–on the way to a sustainable energy future– we’re going to be needing these products,” says Wolf. “We’re going to have to transport them, and we need to do everything we can to make sure we’re doing this as safely as possible.”

Shortly after taking office, Wolf convened a major task force to recommend ways to coordinate planning and best practices for the state’s pipeline building boom.

The panel issued a final report in 2016 with 184 recommendations, but much of its work has been ignored.

Documents uncovered in the ongoing litigation over the Mariner East 2 project also show staff at the state Department of Environmental Protection raising concerns with their superiors about the project earlier this year, before construction began.

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