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Chester County Government News

Posted on: August 29, 2019

Commissioners Establish Pipeline Safety Advisory Board

Commissioners and Gov Wolf 2

Chester County Commissioners Michelle Kichline, Kathi Cozzone and Terence Farrell approved today a resolution establishing the Chester County Pipeline Safety Advisory Board, created to review any activity undertaken by pipeline operators throughout the county.

The purpose of the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board is to bring together emergency response experts, municipal officials, industry representatives and members of the general public who live along a pipeline right-of-way, to review, discuss and make recommendations to the Commissioners and applicable County departments on how best to ensure citizen safety when it comes to pipelines. 

“Prior to the August 5th explosion that occurred at Energy Transfer’s Boot Road facility, we had taken a number of steps to address issues resulting from the Mariner East pipeline, including intervening in the Safety 7 Public Utility Commission matter and filing a land rights lawsuit against Energy Transfer in the County Court of Common Pleas,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Michelle Kichline. 

“We have heard the concerns of many residents living within a close proximity to the Mariner East pipeline, particularly with regard to emergency safety communications – that’s why this Advisory Board will include a full representation of the emergency responder community,” added Kichline.

Specific purposes of the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board include identifying areas of best practice in pipeline safety; reviewing and recommending local and county policies and procedures regarding emergency response and planning for pipelines; providing recommendations to increase transparency and pubic engagement in pipeline issues; reviewing proposed statutory, legislative, regulatory and contractual changes affecting pipeline siting, design, construction and safety; and reviewing pipeline incidents that may occur in Chester County in order to recommend ways to improve local and county response, interaction and involvement. All positions on the Board will be voluntary.

“The true goal of the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board is to act as conveners of public safety officials and the public so that everyone involved can work towards a safer Chester County,” said Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone. 

“One of the first tasks of the advisory board will be to review the long list of legislation introduced by our state senators and representatives, to gauge the status of the legislation and where timely, provide feedback from the County’s perspective to ensure the intended goals are ultimately achieved,” noted Cozzone.

Members of the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board include the Directors of Chester County’s Department of Emergency Services, Planning Commission and Health Department; the Chair of the Local Emergency Planning Commission; a Fire Chief, Police Chief, EMS Captain or Chief and Fire Police Captain with a pipeline in his or her district; representatives from the Fire Chief’s and Police Chief’s Association, the EMS Council and the Fire Police Association; a representative of the Chester County Association of Township Officials and the Chester County Manager’s Consortium; a municipal Emergency Management Coordinator; two industry representatives; and representative of the Pipeline Safety Coalition; and five members of the pubic who live along a pipeline right-of-way.

Chester County Commissioner Terence Farrell said, “In addition to reviewing the long list of proposed legislation, one of the first tasks of the new Pipeline Safety Advisory Board will be to work with our Department of Emergency Services on the independent validation of our emergency response capabilities.

“This study will not only identify the threats and hazards and give them context, but it will also validate that emergency responders across the county have the proper planning, organization, equipment, training, and practice elements in place to respond to an incident involving the Mariner East pipeline.”

For public positions, send resume to krahn@chesco.org no later than Friday, October 25.

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