Governor Tom Wolf today announced the appointment of 48 individuals to participate on the Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce, which will be chaired by Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley. The group of experts and stakeholders will recommend policies, guidelines and best practices to guide the anticipated and unprecedented build-out of pipeline infrastructure expected to take place across Pennsylvania during the next decade.
"Pipeline expansion is important to our economy and growing energy sector," Governor Wolf said. "We will work together to make sure that this important infrastructure can be developed effectively and responsibly with consideration for the environment, residents and local communities."
The task force is made up of representatives from state agencies, the legislature, federal and local governments, the pipeline and natural gas industries and environmental groups. Experts were drawn from across the state and country.
"Governor Wolf has charged the task force with crafting an innovative, collaborative and responsible approach to pipeline development that balances environmental protection with economic opportunity," said Quigley. "Through smart planning, Pennsylvania can experience economic prosperity, achieve energy security, and protect the environment and communities."
The members will define a set of recommendations and best practices for: planning, siting and routing pipelines; amplifying and engaging in meaningful public participation; maximizing opportunities for predictable and efficient permitting; employing construction methods that reduce environmental and community impacts; and developing long-term operations and maintenance plans to ensure pipeline safety and integrity. The task force will provide a report of recommendations to Governor Tom Wolf by February 2016.
More than 200 people applied to participate on the task force.
The task force will be informed by an additional 101 individuals, serving on 12 workgroups, who will focus on such issues as pipeline safety and integrity, siting and routing, environmental protection, conservation, agriculture, emergency preparedness, natural gas end use, county government, local government, public participation, workforce and economic development, and historical, cultural and tribal issues.
The first meeting of the task force will be held from 1-4 PM, July 22 at DEP's South-central Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg. The meeting will be open to the public and streamed live on DEP's website.