Thursday, September 24, 2020

PUC Orders Sunoco Pipeline L.P. To Conduct Public Education & Awareness Meeting In Cumberland County

On September 23, the Public Utility Commission directed Sunoco Pipeline L.P. (Sunoco) to work with Frankford Township, Cumberland County, and the Cumberland County Commissioners to schedule a public awareness and public education meeting in Cumberland County concerning the Mariner East pipeline system.

The Commission’s Order and Opinion, issued on Sept. 23, 2020, upholds portions of a complaint filed by Cumberland County resident Wilmer Baker, who lives near the pipeline, following extensive legal proceedings. 

The PUC Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) concluded Sunoco’s failure to attend the scheduled public outreach meeting in Cumberland County was unreasonable.

The Commission’s order determined that:

-- Sunoco acted unreasonably by cancelling its attendance at a scheduled public outreach meeting which Mr. Baker and county officials attended, without a valid excuse for the short-notice or reasons for cancelling – resulting in insufficient public outreach in Cumberland County. 

-- Sunoco violated its own public awareness program by not sending Mr. Baker public awareness printed materials on a two-year interval within the past five years.

The ALJ properly held Sunoco to its own public awareness standards, to send safety

awareness brochures to residents within the 1,000-foot public awareness mailing zone.

Additionally, the Commission found that several other issues raised by this complaint are currently being considered as part of a broader PUC rulemaking related to pipeline safety, and should be considered in that ongoing process.

Per the Commission’s order, Sunoco shall contact the Lower Frankford Township Supervisors and Cumberland County Commissioners within 30 days of the date of entry of a Final Order to schedule a public awareness/education meeting(s) to be held in Cumberland County. 

In accordance with applicable guidelines from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, that meeting may allow for virtual participation, provided the meeting remains open to public participation and viewing.

Additionally, Sunoco shall pay a $1,000 civil penalty, payable to “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” within 30 days of the date of entry of a Final Order.

Related Articles:

-- DEP OKs Permit Changes For Mariner East 2 Pipeline In Delaware, Chester Counties

-- DEP Collects $736,000 From TransCo For Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Violations In 9 Counties 

[Post: Sept. 23, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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