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Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Restarts
10 February 2018, 02:55 | Randall Craig
Sunoco fined $12.6 million; pipeline work to resume
The state Department of Environmental Protection announced today that it has issued a $12.6 million civil penalty to Sunoco Pipeline LLP for permit violations related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline.
The US$3 billion, 350 mile pipeline will carry natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale regions of western Pennsylvania and OH to a refinery in Marcus Hook, near Philadelphia. MERO has hosted specialized training sessions this year for more than 750 first responders in communities where Sunoco Pipeline's Mariner East system will operate.
The penalty is one of the largest civil penalties collected in a single settlement, DEP said in the release. "But we are going to continue our strict oversight".
He says prior to the permit suspension, construction had caused more than 120 drilling fluid spills and contaminated dozens of drinking water supplies, streams and wetlands.
As a result of the deal, the state agency has lifted a ban on construction on the controversial pipeline that will deliver hundreds of thousands of barrels of ethane, propane and butane across the full width of Pennsylvania, through large swaths of DE and Chester counties, to the former refinery site in Marcus Hook.
Among the violations reported across the state, the owners of private wells in Cumberland County near North Locust Point Road in Silver Spring Township reported cloudy water in December in areas where the DEP reported that Sunoco's crews used a method of digging that wasn't allowed under its permits.
Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields, asked to explain how the company would avoid future violations, cited a section of the DEP's statement saying that additional measures have now been put in place to ensure compliance with permit conditions. "We are committed to fully complying with the DEP order, which includes following all permit requirements".
He said the agreement relies on Sunoco's promises to do better, but those have not proved fruitful in the year that Mariner East 2, now scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2018, has been under construction. Construction of Mariner East 2 will connect to NGL gathering systems in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.
On Thursday, DEP officials offered assurances that project oversight would not end and that work will be closely monitored to "ensure that Sunoco is meeting the terms of this agreement and its permits".
"This outrageous deal sacrifices the health and safety of Pennsylvanians for mere pocket change from Sunoco", Rubin said. "Gov. Wolf's message to the thousands of schoolchildren living within the blast zone of the Mariner East 2 is simple: Your safety is less important than Sunoco's profits".