Sunday, 20 May, 2018


Pa. DEP Slams Brakes On Sunoco Pipeline Construction

01032018_mariner_east_pipeline_SL Pa. DEP Slams Brakes On Sunoco Pipeline Construction
Bennie Garza | 12 January, 2018, 21:17

Construction permits issued in Pennsylvania for a controversial cross-state natural gas pipeline have been suspended by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Sunoco Pipeline, which has regional headquarters in Spring Township, said the pipeline will provide four times the capacity of its existing Mariner East 1 pipeline.

According to the DEP's statement on settlement of suspension of drilling, the DEP reached an agreement with the Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Mountain Watershed Association Inc.

"The point of the suspension is to make sure that this is done in accordance with the Commonwealth's laws, regulations and permits", McDonnell said.

According to a news release from the DEP Wednesday, Sunoco must cease all construction activity on the pipeline project, except for maintenance of erosion controls and limited maintenance of horizontal directional drilling equipment.

Energy Transfer Partners, parent company of Sunoco Pipeline, said that it did not plan to abandon construction efforts.

Sunoco has discharged drilling fluid more than 100 times, including four times this fall, during a four-day time period, at the same location in East Goshen Township.

Sunoco also notified the DEP that it had received complaints from two private water supply owners in the vicinity of its horizontal directional drilling site in Silver Spring Township that they had cloudy water - the first complaint had been filed December 15 and the second on December 18, according to DEP's order.

Earlier this summer, Sunoco fouled drinking water wells in about 30 West Whiteland Township wells and then hooked up homeowners to public water and awarded each homeowner $60,000.

The 24-page order enumerates dozens of infractions, including instances in which project backer Sunoco Pipeline LP allegedly did not obtain a permit at all for certain installation activities.

The project's opponents, who have complained directly to Gov. Tom Wolf, on Wednesday called for the state to cancel construction rather than suspend work.

"Now we see exactly what happens when you don't give strict permits as required by the law, and have the resources to monitor it", Minott said. "DEP today is doing just that", Abbott said.

Several groups issued statements reacting to the suspension. "This project, which was greenlighted with flawed permits, was never going to be safe for the people of Pennsylvania".

Rubinkam reported from New Ringgold, Pennsylvania.

He continued, "We are living up to our promise to hold this project accountable to the strong protections in the permits".

Pipeline spokesman Jeff Shields says the company plans to comply with DEP's request.

A regulator in Pennsylvania issued an order that suspended the construction permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline, it said on Wednesday. We intend to expeditiously submit these reports and we are confident that we will be reauthorized to commence work on this project promptly. "We also reiterate our commitment to the highest levels of construction and expertise and our dedication to preserving and protecting the environment in which we conduct our work". Further reporting revealed even more spills. "I really believe that the governor wants to push this project through".

Eric Friedman, spokesman for the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety, has been busy fighting the pipeline from his home turf in Delaware County.

Residents in central Pa. have concerns about the Sunoco Pipeline construction near their properties.

State Rep. Chris Quinn, R-168 of Edgmont, suggested a course of caution.

"In my district alone, pipeline construction has contaminated nearly two dozen wells, disrupted businesses, created significant environmental damage and resulted in the development of an expanding sinkhole that now threatens at least two private homes and is within 100 feet of Amtrak's Keystone Line", State Sen. "We must know the risk and we must know it before drilling resumes".

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