Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Environmental Hearing Board Orders Halt On All Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Drilling

The Environmental Hearing Board Tuesday granted the petition of the Clean Air Council, Mountain Watershed Association, Inc., and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network to halt all drilling operations at 55 locations associated with the construction of the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipelines.
This ruling comes after last week’s filing which disclosed 61 drilling fluid spills and water contamination in multiple Pennsylvania regions.  
After hearing the argument about drilling spills and water well contamination from Sunoco’s drilling operations for the Mariner East 2 pipeline, the Environmental Hearing Board issued an order stating, “it is hereby ordered that the Appellants’ application for a temporary partial supersedeas is granted.”  
“Residents living along the route of the pipeline have been assailed over the last few months by drilling spills and damage to water wells and water quality due to Sunoco’s reckless drilling,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel for Clean Air Council.  “Today’s decision provides residents with much-needed protection over the next two weeks.”
“The relief is not permanent and the public must continue to call on elected officials and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to defend the public interest by putting a long-term halt to the drilling, which Sunoco has been unable to do safely,”  said Alex Bomstein, Senior Litigation Attorney, Clean Air Council.
“It is unconscionable that Sunoco has inflicted such irreparable harms on our environment and communities,” said Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
The shutdown of Mariner East 2 drilling will remain in effect until a full hearing can take place on the organizations’ petition, which is scheduled for August 7 - 9, 2017.  
The Environmental Hearing Board left open the possibility of modifying its order to allow certain drilling activity to resume if Sunoco can provide “detailed affidavits explaining why it would cause equipment damage, a safety issue, or more environmental harm than good to stop drilling at the 55 locations where drilling is actively underway.”
Sunoco reported to the Environmental Hearing Board Tuesday morning that drilling is underway at 55 locations, and has not begun at an additional 168 locations.
Click Here for a copy of the Hearing Board order (Case #2017-009).
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