Tuesday, February 14, 2017

UPDATED: Enviro Groups Appeal DEP Approval Of Mariner East 2 Pipeline Permits, Hearing Set For Feb. 16 On Supercedeas

Environmental advocacy groups, including the Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Mountain Watershed Association, appealed the issuance Monday of 20 DEP permits necessary for Sunoco Pipeline L.P. to begin construction of its proposed Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipelines to the state’s Environmental Hearing Board.
The groups are claiming that DEP had failed to address the negative impacts of the project. Click Here for copies of documents filed as part of the appeal.
A hearing has been scheduled for February 16 before EHB member Bernard Labuskes to consider the petition by the groups to grant a temporary supercedeas (like a temporary stay) on pipeline construction activities until the merits of the appeal can be heard.
The Mariner East 2 pipeline would span over 300 miles across 17 counties in Pennsylvania carrying natural gas liquids, including propane, butane, and ethane, which are 150 times more flammable than natural gas.
The pipeline will cross many streams, wetlands, and waterways, severely impacting Pennsylvania’s watersheds.
DEP previously issued a multitude of deficiency letters to Sunoco Logistics in September 2016 in response to the earlier versions of the company’s permit applications, outlining hundreds of areas in need of improvement.
Clean Air Council has worked with landowners along the pipeline route for years to advocate for the rights of local residents to participate in the decisions that impact their health, welfare and quality of life and to ensure the protection of local ecosystems.
The group believes that the issued permits should be overturned and work on the pipeline should be halted until a decision is made about the legality of the permits.
“Sunoco’s permit applications were woefully incomplete, inaccurate, and contradictory, and DEP’s review and approval was utterly inadequate,” said Joseph O. Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council. “What DEP has authorized with these permits is the destruction of Pennsylvania streams and wetlands, the endangerment of the public, and great damage to both public and private property.”
“It is DEP’s job and the Governor’s job to protect our natural resources and the public. Instead, they are once again betraying this obligation and the public trust in favor of aiding the fracked gas and fossil fuel industries in achieving their corporate goals. Environmental groups now have to step in and do the government’s job for them,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
Since 2002, Sunoco has received 262 incident reports and 32 enforcement actions from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), as well as 17 Notice of Probable Violation orders resulting in over $2.3 million in proposed and enforced fines.
Concerned citizens along the proposed route have found and submitted to DEP additional discrepancies in Sunoco’s updated application despite no official public comment period following Sunoco’s application resubmission.
According to a comment submitted to DEP in December 2016 by the Pipeline Safety Coalition, Executive Director, Lynda Farrell wrote, “A cursory review indicates that the December 5, 2016 submitted applications by Sunoco to the Department remain both incomplete and full of critical errors, including in areas which PADEP has addressed with the applicant.”
Pipelines Safety Coalition called for a public comment period and an immediate rejection of Sunoco’s current application
“The Mariner East 2 proposal, along with the rapid expansion of other forms of natural gas infrastructure, is a serious threat to the health and well-being of  Pennsylvanians,” said Jordan Hoover, Community Organizer at Mountain Watershed Association.
Ellen Gerhart is a landowner whose property has been targeted for the Mariner East 2 pipelines by Sunoco for years now.
“I am a recently retired public school teacher who looked forward to living quietly in my home in rural Huntingdon County,” said Gerhart. “It is unfortunate when the agencies who are entrusted with protecting the environment and the residents of Pennsylvania fail to do so. Sunoco has yet to submit a permit application that isn’t seriously flawed, yet DEP has seen fit to issue permits anyway. Our well, and our neighbor’s well, are not shown in Sunoco’s application, even though the aquifers we depend on will be impacted.”
Related Story:
DEP Approves Environmental Permits For Mariner East 2 Pipeline

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