State halts Mariner East II pipeline construction for environmental violations

State halts Mariner East II pipeline construction for environmental violations

"We received an order this morning from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that instructed us to suspend construction activities in Pennsylvania with respect to Mariner East 2 until reauthorized by the Pennsylvania DEP", Shields said.

Sunoco must cease all construction activity on the pipeline project, except for maintenance of erosion controls and limited maintenance of horizontal directional drilling equipment, according to a press release issued by DEP.

Pipeline critics slammed the news of the Mariner East 2 violations as evidence of reckless development practices.

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The 24-page order requires the company to provide a report that "fully explains the failures that led to the violations", to outline the steps it will take to prevent recurrences, to address the private water wells contaminated in Silver Lake Township "to the satisfaction of the private well owners", and to "properly abandon" illegally drilled pilot holes within 10 days, as well as a long list of other terms and conditions.

"We intend to expeditiously submit these reports and we are confident that we will be reauthorized to commence work on this project promptly", the statement said. "We also reiterate our commitment to the highest levels of construction expertise and our dedication to preserving and protecting the environment in which we conduct our work".

The order from the DEP announced on Wednesday, Jan. 3, specifically references permit violations by Sunoco Pipeline LP at multiple locations throughout the 17 counties, including a wetlands location in Lower Swatara Township.

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"Gov. Wolf has made clear from the onset that he expects DEP to hold all permittees accountable to the conditions and requirements of Pennsylvania law which are implemented in all permits that are issued".

Sunoco's work on the Mariner East 2 pipeline has been suspended by the Pennsylvania environmental protection department. Resolutions passed by eight local governments along Mariner East II's route observe that over the past decade, Sunoco Logistics has spilled hazardous materials 296 times-more often than any other operator-according to federal pipeline safety regulators.

Energy Transfer Partners had hired TigerSwan, a private security firm, to conduct "surveillance, monitoring, social media engagement, and counter-intelligence" on the Mariner East 2 protesters, as it did with the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota in 2016. In September, for example, the DEP said Sunoco violated a court-brokered agreement imposing new restrictions on drilling for the pipeline when it spilled drilling mud into at least three waterways.

"This is an illustration that people with different approaches to the inherent problems of this project worked toward a common goal to say 'enough is enough, '" Farrell said. The DEP said it discovered an "air bridge" that was installed over an existing bridge that had been deemed unsafe by county inspectors.

Since May, DEP has issued Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) subsidiary Sunoco Pipeline LP more than 30 separate violation notices, most recently on December 22. What we really need is a full and permanent halt to construction and a full, transparent, and public assessment of the risks associated with the Mariner East 2.

"We are acutely aware of how this project affects our communities - as we are of the tremendous economic benefits it promises for Pennsylvania businesses and consumers upon completion", Knaus said in a statement. "Sunoco and DEP should work expeditiously to resolve this matter so safe construction can resume and this vital project can get back on track". This project remains critically important for our commonwealth.

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