Thursday, May 3, 2018

PUC Allows Restart Of Mariner East 1 Pipeline Operations Following Compliance With Emergency Order

The Public Utility Commission Thursday issued an order allowing Sunoco Pipeline L.P., also known as Energy Transfer Partners (Sunoco), to reinstate operations of the Mariner East 1 Pipeline (ME1)--  which were suspended as the result of an emergency order issued by the Commission on March 7, 2018.
The order, which was approved by a 5-0 vote, follows an extensive investigation into safety concerns raised by the Commission’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (BIE) – which includes the PUC’s Pipeline Safety Section.
The action comes in response to a petition filed by Sunoco to lift the Commission’s emergency order, which suspended transportation service on ME1 until concerns raised by BIE were adequately addressed.
In a statement filed by BIE in response to the Sunoco petition, prosecutors note the investigative work, surveys, analysis and corrective actions that have been planned and conducted since the March 2018 emergency order-- including review of the data by independent geological and geophysical experts--  and aver that concerns raised in the emergency order have been adequately addressed.
The order requires Sunoco to comply with additional conditions as the Company reinstates service on the ME1 pipeline, including:
-- That Sunoco shall notify the BIE Pipeline Safety Section, affected municipal officials, and property owners within a 500-foot radius, of any subsidence event or construction variances occurring within or proximate to the right-of-way of the ME1 pipeline within 12 hours of discovery, and report to those entities and individuals of all current or intended mitigation efforts to address the conditions.
-- That Sunoco shall file “post grouting” reports via continued strain gauge and pipeline elevation monitoring as prescribed in the ARM Group Inc. report with the BIE Pipeline Safety Section every sixty (60) days commencing with the entry date of this Order for a period of six months following construction activities.
-- That Sunoco shall immediately notify the BIE Pipeline Safety Section of alternative construction methods used in the construction of Mariner East 2 and Mariner East 2X and the status of any Department of Environmental Protection permitting changes related to those methods.
-- That Sunoco shall serve all reports required by this Order on the BIE Pipeline Safety Section for evaluation and monitoring.
Additionally, in a statement before the vote, PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown thanked the numerous concerned individuals and organizations who submitted various filings in this case and noted that avenues are available to bring other pipeline safety issues before the Commission:
“While the specific concerns outlined in the Commission’s Emergency Order have been remedied, there are still legal vehicles for concerned citizens and entities to have their voices heard. The individuals and organizations who attempted to intervene in this proceeding may file their own formal complaint or intervene in an existing complaint which relates to their concerns.”
Click Here for a copy of the new PUC order.
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