Sunday, October 18, 2020

Spotlight PA: Are We Prepared? Mariner East Pipelines' Emergency Plans Left Many In The Dark; Still The Senate, House Take No Action On Bipartisan Pipeline Safety Bills

Last week
Spotlight PA published a two-part series about how emergency response plans for the Mariner East natural gas liquid pipelines left many communities in the dark about what to do in case of an accident.  It was called-- Are We Prepared?

-- Part I: Along Mariner East Pipelines, Secrecy And A Patchwork Of Emergency Plans Leave Many At Risk And In The Dark

-- Part II: Emergency Plans Fail To Consider Complexity Of Mariner East Pipelines, And Those Most At Risk In An Accident.

-- Interactive Map: Explore the Mariner East Pipeline System And Its History With This Interactive Map.

More Background

The cross-state Mariner East Pipeline construction project by Sunoco (a.k.a. Energy Transfer) has accumulated nearly $17 million in penalties assessed by DEP, easily one of the most penalized projects ever permitted by the agency.  

That amount was only exceeded by another Energy Transfer pipeline project in Pennsylvania-- DEP assessed a $30.6 million penalty to Energy Transfer for the 2018 explosion of the brand-new Revolution natural gas pipeline in Beaver County.  Read more here.

Mariner East was also the subject of multiple, temporary bans on permit reviews and shutdown orders by DEP in an attempt to get the company’s attention to correct multiple violations during construction.  

And construction continues.

Most recently, Sunoco Mariner East Pipeline construction caused a nearly 8,000 gallon spill of drilling fluid into the lake at Marsh Creek State Park.  Read more here.  And spills are continuing in Lebanon and other counties.  Read more here.

Visit DEP’s Mariner East Pipeline webpage for more information and see the Related Articles below.

The Public Utility Commission and Susquehanna River Basin Commission have also imposed multiple penalties on Sunoco for Mariner East 1 and 2 Pipeline construction and operation violations.

The pipeline is also the subject of multiple criminal investigations by the FBI, state Attorney General and the District Attorneys in Chester and Delaware counties.

As early as a December 2018 Senate hearing, frustration with Sunoco’s compliance record and the way it deals with the public and local officials was expressed by Sen. Don White (R-Indiana) who took the highly unusual step of singling out one pipeline company by name-- Sunoco.  

He said if the issues raised at the Senate hearing are only about one company [Sunoco Mariner East Pipelines] “we should be able to deal with that company and put them out of business.”  Read more here.

There have been multiple calls for the state to adopt legislation to get more involved in approving pipeline routes by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Public Utility Commission starting more than a year ago.  Read more here.

And yet, bipartisan bills in the Senate and House that would address significant natural gas and hazardous liquids pipeline safety legislation have seen little or no action and none have made it to the Governor’s desk.  Read more here.

The issue of how to handle the increasing number of pipeline projects in Pennsylvania is certainly not new.

In 2015, Gov. Wolf convened a Governor’s Pipeline Task Force to look at the issues from all sides and it made 184 recommendations in a report in February of 2016.

Some of those recommendations were implemented, for example beefing up the pipeline inspection program at the PUC, others found their way into legislation-- which has not been acted on.  Many others were not implemented or their status is unknown.  Read more here.


John Hurdle: At PUC Hearing On Mariner East Safety, Plaintiffs Say Sunoco’s Public Awareness Plan Falls Short

Trouble-Plagued Mariner East Pipeline Project Sparks Fear In Suburbs

Related Articles:

-- How Long Must The Public Wait For Action On Bipartisan Pipeline Safety Bills?

-- Clean Air Council Files Intent To Sue Sunoco Over Mariner East II Pipeline Construction Permits

-- 28 Environmental Organizations Demand DEP Revoke Mariner East Pipeline Permit For Lebanon County Spills

-- DEP Orders Sunoco To Reroute 1+ Mile Of Mariner East Pipeline, Investigate Chester County Marsh Creek Lake Spill, Restore Impacted Resources

-- DEP Assesses $355,000 Penalty On Sunoco For 2018, 2019 Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Violations

-- Legislators Issue Call For Revocation Of Mariner East Pipeline Permits In Chester County

-- Mariner East Pipeline Drilling Stopped Indefinitely At Site Of Leak Into Marsh Creek State Park Lake, Chester County; Pipeline Company Will Be Held Accountable

-- Clean Air Council: Another Spill From Construction Of Sunoco's Mariner East II Pipeline In Chester County

-- PUC Approves 2nd Order On Reporting Integrity Of Sunoco's Mariner East 1 Pipeline, Leaves $200,000 Penalty In Place

-- DEP Issues $1.95 Million Penalty To Sunoco For Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Violations At Raystown Lake, Huntingdon County

-- Bipartisan Pipeline Safety Legislation Highlighted By PUC Administrative Law Judge Decision In Mariner East I Pipeline Leak

-- AP: FBI Opens Corruption Investigation Into How Wolf Administration Approved Mariner East Pipelines

-- Attorney General, Delaware County DA Conducting Joint Investigation Into Mariner East Pipelines

-- Chester County DA Says His Investigation Of Mariner East Pipelines Is Widening And Deepening After Latest Sinkhole Found

-- New Trout Unlimited Report Documents Repeated Pollution Events During Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction In PA, Central Appalachia

-- PUC Investigating Subsidence Involving Several Pipelines Near Site Of Sunoco Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction In Delaware County

-- DEP Issues Sunoco $319,461 In Penalties For Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Violations In 2017, 2018; Fines Now Total $13 Million+

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission To Consider Mariner East 2 Pipeline Violations Settlement Agreement Sept. 6

-- $200,000 Penalty Proposed In PUC Settlement Of 2017 Mariner East 1 Pipeline Leak Case

-- Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction To Go Right Through Girls Softball Field, Threaten Season In Chester County

-- 14 Senate, House Members Ask Gov. Wolf To Halt Mariner East Pipeline Operations Until Safety Protocols Are In Place

-- Rep. Comitta, Sen. Killion Host Public Meeting Jan. 31 On Mariner East Pipeline Safety Concerns

-- DEP Assesses $148,000 Penalty Against Mariner East 2 Pipeline For Violations in Berks, Chester, Lebanon Counties

-- PUC Judge Issues Order To Shut Down Mariner East 1, 2, 2x Pipelines, Sunoco To Appeal

-- Sunoco Mariner East II Pipeline Fined $12.6 Million, DEP Allows Construction To Resume

[Posted: October 18, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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