By Chanteé Lans


WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — Residents from Delaware and Chester Counties who are directly impacted by Sunoco’s Mariner East Pipelines are letting their voices be heard. The second-floor courtroom was filled with residents and officials on Thursday.

The Chester County Commissioners offered to host the hearings, after the judge presiding over them allowed for local testimony instead of in Harrisburg.

Residents, as well as officials, testified about safety concerns and described the daily life along the pipeline.

The bottom line is they want Sunoco to stop construction of the Mariner East Pipelines. Residents provided CBS3 with photos of one of the most recent sinkholes in Middletown Township.

(credit: CBS3)

Residents testified a second sinkhole appeared at Sleighton Park last week and another sinkhole was spotted near the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Middletown Township on Route 1.

Sinkholes are also in the backyards of many Chester County residents.

Caroline Hughes, who lives in East Goshen Township, is one of seven Chester County residents suing Sunoco over its pipelines.

“I live about 700 feet from the pipeline. My entire neighborhood is impacted by this. I pull out of our development and a senior living facility is right there within 25 feet. Immediately next to that is my son’s school. He has pipeline evacuation drills and nearly every aspect of our life is impacted but I would also say that for people who think, ‘Well, I don’t live next to the pipeline, it doesn’t impact me,’ we live in this community and I think that we’re all impacted by it whether it’s shopping, going to the library, going to schools, whether you live by the easement or not,” Hughes said.

Representatives in support of the pipeline were also in court. Kurt Knaus, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, said in a statement, in part, “The facts are clear. Mariner East is safe, legally permitted and in compliance with strict requirements for pipeline construction and operation.”

This afternoon wrapped up the second and final day of testimonies. Experts will next testify in Harrisburg as construction on the pipelines continue.