HARRISBURG, Pa. - Protesters at the state capitol Tuesday, demanding construction of the Mariner East Pipeline being built across the state be put to a halt. They are also rallying for more safety measures to be put in place when it comes to pipelines.
The newly formed pipeline caucus is working on a package of comprehensive pipeline safety bills to deal with everything from environmental violations to private property and water rights. Until then, people living near the pipeline want construction to end as they fear for their safety.
"Safety over Sunoco" chants filled the capitol. People from across Pennsylvania as well as some state lawmakers join together to protect the pipeline under construction in the state.
"We have come here today to proclaim our right to a safe and healthy environment," said State Sen. Andrew Dinniman.
They are concerned about their safety and health living so close to the pipeline. Ralph Blume lives in Frankford Township, Cumberland County. Days after dirt was turned to begin installation of the pipeline in his backyard, he says his water turned brown and has not been clear for nearly three years.
"They ruined my property, ruined my water, just terrorized my wife and I," said Blume. "We are 79, 80 years old and we don't need this."
With the pipeline 100 feet away from his home, Blume lives in the blast zone, which means if something were to happen he says he'd have to evacuate by foot at least 1,000 feet away. That is something he says he and his wife would physically not be able to do.
"There's no way we can do that," said Blume. "We'd get an instant cremation."
While many protestors echoed the same safety concerns about the pipeline, State Sen. Camera Bartolotta, co-chair of the oil and gas caucus, along with the Marcellus Shale Coalition tell FOX43, "Pipelines are the safest, most reliable and environmentally responsible means to supply consumers with affordable energy they need."
Tuesday's rally comes one week after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced an investigation into possible criminal misconduct with the Mariner East pipeline project.