On January 3, Sunoco Pipeline, L.P. was ordered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to suspend construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline. DEP issued a 24-page administrative order outlining all findings, permits, sites and violations.
Since May, 2017, over 30 violations have been issued, the most recent occurring December 22. Violations to the Clean Streams Law, Chapter 23 Water Quality Standards, Chapter 102 Erosion Control and Chapter 105 Waterway Management were cited. “Until Sunoco can demonstrate that the permit conditions can and will be followed, DEP has no alternative but to suspend the permits,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We are living up to our promise to hold this project accountable to the strong protections in the permits.”
Sunoco is required to cease all activities permitted under Chapter 102 and Chapter 105 of the PA Code until they satisfy the terms outlined in the order, mainly, to address all impacts to private water wells in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County; Identify all in-progress or upcoming construction activities and detail the specific Chapter 102 and Chapter 105 permit under which the activity is authorized; and submit a detailed Operations Plan outlining additional measures and controls to minimize inadvertent returns. The company has 30 days to respond to the state Environmental hearing board. The company website states, “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 expertise and our dedication to preserving and protecting the environment in which we conduct our work.”
The Mariner East 1 phase was completed in 2014 for the interstate portion and in 2016 for the intrastate portion, carrying propane and ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex, where they are processed, stored and distributed. The 350 mile, $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 phase follows the path of the Mariner East 1, and would expand takeaway capacity to 345,000 barrels per day.
The full order can be found on the PA DEP website.