About a dozen State College residents made their concerns known during the public comment session at the Borough Council meeting on Monday. The topic on all of their minds is a natural gas pipeline being built by Penn State that will run through the State College borough.
This gas line will line several streets in State College and end up at Penn State’s West Campus steam plant.
Many residents brought up the risks involved with the pipeline. Some of the residents who spoke also mentioned the lack of information regarding the pipeline. One resident questioned why this pipeline cannot run through Penn State’s campus as opposed to the State College borough.
We are glad to hear that there will be further discussion of this pipeline at the council’s April 1 meeting. At the meeting, there should be experts to go over all safety precautions involved with the project.
We also hope to hear more about Penn State’s involvement in the project because as of right now, it is not clear. As it stands, it is unclear why Penn State is not taking on this project and leaving it to the borough instead — at the very least, the public should be given a clear reason as to why the community might need to accommodate this pipeline, instead of the campus.
There are safety requirements that have to be adhered to for this pipeline to be approved, and we would hope that either State College or Penn State — wherever the pipeline ends up — takes great care to follow these rules. For example, according to the United States Energy Information Administration, standard design codes require that all pipelines passing through populated areas reduce its maximum operating pressures.
While there is no way of guaranteeing that this pipeline will result in no problems, designers of the pipeline have done their research and have made sure it is safe.
Council Member Peter Morris responded to the residents’ comments by saying, “The state legislature in Harrisburg is preempting the local municipalities from doing anything.”
The Borough Council does not have the authority to approve the pipeline, as far as he knew.
With the council’s hands potentially tied on the situation, it might be beneficial to bring concerns to Harrisburg — or address unanswered questions from Penn State, instead.