Communities CAN Make a Difference!
Our organizational roots are deeply planted in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, so are some of the worst examples of how fossil fuel pipelines should not be managed, operated, and constructed. To remedy this failure, in 2019 we began a pilot project, funded by a PHMSA Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) to develop a Community Pipeline Safety Awareness Network (CAN) in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
The objective of the 2019 TAG was to use PSC’s grassroots, community-based approach to pipeline safety education to promote respectful dialogue and action to improve the human and environmental safety of pipeline infrastructure and prevention of pipeline disasters. We provided communities in Chester County, Pennsylvania with resources and education not easily found in the complex regulatory and policy system of pipeline safety and siting, and importantly, the critical thinking skills to use those resources in ways that enhance community safety preparedness and emergency response. Key to the project was continuing to build relationships built on respect and dignity with local, state, and federal entities.
One of the primary outcomes of the Chester County, Pennsylvania CAN was to engage the County’s Department of Emergency Services, national emergency planning and preparedness specialists, pipeline technical risk specialists, and local communities in development of a “Landowner Toolkit” of educational and organizational materials specific to Chester County.
This Toolkit became the Chester County Pipeline Emergency Response Guidebook. We collaborated with Chester County CAN members to finalize the Guidebook, and it is available on this website for easy reading and download as a printable PDF!
Other goals of the Chester County CAN project included:
Information sharing specifically related to the risks of pipelines, emergency preparedness, and community evacuation plans.
Sharing data on safety and risks of pipeline infrastructure between CAN citizen groups.
Sharing data on safety and risks of pipeline infrastructure with local officials in an holistic approach to collaborative efforts toward improved safety.
Establishing a CAN structure that is aimed at informing local citizens and elected local and state officials about the location of pipelines and the zones of impact that would be effected in the event of an explosion or leak.
Coordinating local, state, regional, and federal entities in decision-making protocols, specifically in High Consequence Areas (HCA).
Facilitating education and critical skills development for local officials and citizens to help them turn information into realistic and effective local action.
Promoting better communications between pipeline operators, CANs, and local governments.
Heightening public and local government awareness of Pipeline Informed Planning Alliance recommendations, with an emphasis on the principle that local governments and landowners are key stakeholders in pipeline safety efforts.
Engaging with PA One Call for assistance and input.
Our vision is that the Guidebook and these other goals could lead to the formation of new CANs throughout the Nation.
To learn more about other pipeline safety initiatives across Pennsylvania, please visit our Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure page here. We will be adding and updating this page with resources as they become available.