Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Pipelines in the spotlight

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Nov 27, 2016 8:43 PM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, November 28, 2016:

Two pipeline projects that run through the midstate have gotten a significant amount of attention.  The Atlantic Sunrise project that will send natural gas from the shale fields of northeastern Pennsylvania to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions crossing ten counties along the way.  The Mariner East 2 pipeline, that would located next to the Mariner 1 existing pipeline, could carry liquidfied natural gas from west to east to the Marcus Hook refinery south of Philadelphia.

There has been opposition to both pipelines from property owners who are concerned about property values, the environment and even the threat of eminent domain in some cases.

The protests in Central Pennsylvania have been somewhat mild compared to what's going on in North Dakota.  There, the Dakota Access oil pipeline has drawn hundreds of protestors from across the country and have turned violent as police used water cannons in sub-freezing temperatures and rubber bullets to subdue protestors trying to get past a barricaded bridge.  The biggest fear in North Dakota is water could be polluted and the pipeline is near the Standing Rock Sioux Native American reservation.

What Dakota Access has done is bring more attention to pipelines.

We'll look at the midstate projects and opposition on Monday's Smart Talk.


Melinda and Mark Clatterbuck - Founders, Lancaster Against Pipelines

Appearing on the program are Chris Stockton, of Williams Partners -- the company building Atlantic Sunrise, Mark Clatterbuck of the group Lancaster Against Pipelines, landowner Susan Cappiello, Cumberland County farmer Ralph Blume, who may lose some of his land through eminent domain and Marie Cusick, WITF's StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter, who covers Pennsylvania's energy economy.

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Marie Cusick - Reporter, StateImpact Pennsylvania


-I have two questions:

1. The opposition (Clatterbuck) continues to incorrectly cite that the Atlantic Sunrise (ASR) gas is destined for exclusively for export. Yet a $300 million dollar power plant in Schuylkill County that was going to previously run on coal is now going to use ASR gas. Additionally, the ASR is being constructed as an, "open line," which means anyone can tap into it at any time. Would Mark Clatterbuck like to comment on the misleading rhetoric surrounding this discrepancy?

2. Mark Clatterbuck is a professor at Montclair University and lives in southern Lancaster County. That's a 340 mile roundtrip commute. How does Mark justify his hypocritical reliance on fuel, both transportation and otherwise, while opposing projects that deliver the same energy he depends upon.       - Mark 

-Hazardous, highly volatile liquids like the materials Sunoco proposes to transport in "Mariner East" pose enormous risk to public safety if leaked. A recent accident on a similar pipeline caused thermal damage in a three-quarter of a mile circle.

Sunoco has an abysmal record of keeping materials in its pipelines: it's reported to the federal government 279 leaks of hazardous liquids since 2006, more than two each month on average.

Worst of all, no one has developed a credible, area specific plan to carry out an evacuation of densely populated areas, which is the only possible response to a leak of highly volatile liquids. Some insurance companies have responded by stating they will cancel policies for property in the vicinity of Mariner East, if it is constructed. 

I'd appreciate a comment from your panel about the acute safety risks of hazardous liquids and gas pipelines in close proximity to densely populated, high consequence areas.        - Eric

-Energy consumption in the U.S. is expected to rise by 5% year over year. in 20 years our consumption will rise by 100%. Currently renewables (wind and solar) produce approximately 4% of our total usage. Renewables could never cover those increases let alone put a dent in the base load. How does the opposition justify their position in the face of this forecasted energy crisis?          - Mark 

-How much of this gas will go overseas?      - Robert

-Williams in August 2016 received federal enforcement action for multiple "probable" violations of federal safety regulations.

The federal government proposed a fine of $1.6 million for these violations. How does this accord with the statement of the Williams representative that safety is their highest priority? Doesn't this enforcement action demonstrate that the rhetoric just doesn't match the reality of the acute risk to public safety?    - Eric

-In addition to the Atlantic Sunrise project Williams is planning to build a ten mile segment of pipe in an existing easement.   Because it touches an interstate line it is regulated by FERC. They have also purchased 37 acres of farmland along the route which was not part of the plan they originally presented to the public. How are we that live along the route supposed to know what they are doing. My farm shares 1000 feet of property line with the land they are buying.    - Dale

-It's an urban myth that "pipelines are safer." At the very least, it requires significant qualification. For example, a 2015 ethane pipeline leak spilled 1.2 million gallons of extremely flammable, highly volatile liquids. Trucks and trains simply don't that quantity of materials.

There is a hazardous liquids leak from a pipeline every day on average, at a rate that is steadily increasing per mile of piepline. Any truck or train carrier that had that many accidents would have been out of business long ago.                         - Eric

-Donald Trump promises to remove two regulations for every one introduced. Given the concerns about the risks associated with local pipelines, can we really rely on the industry to regulate itself?         - Barb 

-I may have the Atlantic Sunrise going near my home and my kid's bedroom,  I am opposed to this project for many reasons, but primarily because I do not want a giant pipeline beside my home.   There have been major explosions of pipelines, and we do not want  to live near this monumental risk.      - Cara

-For me, it's not the pipelines that I object to, it's the taking of property by eminent domain that I object to. If they want to build a pipeline, route it threw property of landowners that are willing to have a pipeline on their property.      - Robert

-my question is ..............did your guests drive a car to get to your show?  do they heat by gas?  do they travel on a train, cruise ship?  buy food at a store with goods shipped by trains or trucks?

if they do nothing of the above then you have a right to complain.

for the record i live no less then 600 feet from a pipeline, they are good neighbors,  they keep their right of way clean.

you cannot stand in the way of progress..........if this would have been the 19th century no power plant would have build, no railroads laid, no highways, no factories built..........we would have been living in the dark ages.       - Thomas 

-In the early 1900's, Standard Oil discovered new oil fields in the West. To accommodate these new discoveries of oil and to transport it to market, they built new pipelines. Lots of them.

By 1911, over 10,000 miles of trunk lines extended from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, northwest through Oklahoma and Kansas, northeast to Indiana and on to Bayonne, New Jersey.

Today, Bayonne is one of the largest oil refinery centers in the world and because of overdevelopment, ocean dumping of municipal and industrial wastes, the despoiling

of once pristine streams and the destruction of sensitive wetlands, Bayonne's natural environment is basically destroyed and it is one of the most congested and polluted urban and industrial areas on Earth.

Sound familiar?

It should, because it is happening in Pennsylvania right now. Replace 'oil' with 'gas' and the same story that played out in Bayonne a century ago, is being replicated here. Soon, you won't need to travel to Bayonne to see what unfettered oil and gas exploration and pipeline construction can do to a community; you'll be able to see it in your own backyard.

Why destroy the natural environment forever, for a resource (natural gas) that will be gone in probably 50 years!!

Climate change is REAL! These pipelines leak. The exploding pipeline is rare, leaking pipelines happen ALL THE TIME. It is environmental death by a thousand cuts.      - Phil

-There is a fine perceptial line between being considered the "safest" transmission option and being considered the "least dangerous" option. There is a third option not being considered of simply not doing this at all. Walk away. Choose our long term environmental future for all over short term financial gains for a few.       - akw


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