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Students tour Mariner East 2 pipeline

Twenty-five students from the Peace and Conflict Studies / Environmental Studies course “Climate Disruption, Conflict, and Peacemaking” toured the route of the Mariner East 2 pipeline (ME2) construction that runs near Swarthmore College.

Mariner East pipes like along the route.
Mariner East pipes lie along the route.
A ship is docked at Marcus Hook near the terminal where natural gas liquids are transferred.
A ship is docked at Marcus Hook near the terminal where natural gas liquids are transferred.

The ME2, a Sunoco project, runs through highly populated neighborhoods in Delaware and Chester counties and beyond. It will carry compressed propane, ethane, and butane from fracking operations in the Marcellus shale fields of western Pennsylvania to the port of Marcus Hook, for shipping, mostly to Europe for the production of plastics (enough to produce 1 billion single-use bottles every day).

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The ME2 pipeline carries highly flammable liquefied gases under pressure through populated suburban neighborhoods, often only feet from homes, schools, residential facilities, detention facilities, and businesses. The gases are odorless, invisible, and heavier than air, raising concerns about the possibility of evacuation in the event of a leak. The pipeline has generated significant and growing local opposition and has raised questions about risk and regulatory processes.

map indicating trip route

Our tour took us to Marcus Hook and its refineries, Hershey’s Mill Village, a large retirement community in the potential blast zone of the pipeline, and an elementary school near a valve station, where we met with a local resident and activist. We are immensely grateful to our guide, George Alexander, author of the Dragonpipe Diary, where you can find more investigative work on the pipeline and local campaigns to stop or regulate the pipeline.

For information from Sunoco on the pipeline, visit their websiteState Impact PA reporting, and the Dragonpipe Diary.

Join us on Wednesday November 13 at 7:00 p.m. for a screening of the film, Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot, about resistance to the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (that we toured in 2017) and the Mariner East 2 pipelines.