Thursday, November 18, 2021

PUC Imposes $1 Million Penalty On Energy Transfer Company For 2018 Revolution Pipeline Explosion In Beaver County

On November 18, the
Public Utility Commission approved a settlement related to a massive pipeline failure and fire in Beaver County in 2018 involving the “Revolution Pipeline” – resulting in nearly $2 million in civil penalties and additional preventative measures required by the pipeline operator.  

The Revolution Pipeline is a 24-inch natural gas pipeline operated by Energy Transfer Company (ETC), doing business as ETC Northeast Pipeline.  Early on the morning of Sept. 10, 2018, a portion of the pipeline failed in Center Township, Beaver County. 

That incident released more than three million cubic feet of natural gas and caused a fire that burned for several hours – destroying a nearby home and garage, damaging several electric transmission lines and towers in the area, and burning several acres of surrounding woodland.  

The Commission voted 3-0 to approve the settlement, which resolves an investigation conducted by the Safety Division of the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (I&E), which is responsible for inspecting pipelines and investigating and enforcing safety violations for the Commission.  

The action by the PUC comes following a thorough review of comments from state lawmakers, advocates, local governments, and various concerned individuals, which were submitted to the Commission after the proposed settlement was published in July 2021. 

The settlement includes the following:

-- $1 Million Penalty: A $1 million civil penalty, to be paid by ETC to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within 30 days of final approval of the settlement.

-- $975,000 In Safety Improvements: Approximately $975,000 in additional safety-related measures, including:

     -- Added pipeline start-up procedures, including 24-hour monitoring during start-up, along with employees onsite at each valve station who are qualified to operate those valves – continuing until the pipeline reaches operating pressure.

     -- Incorporation of preconstruction research into pipeline design, to ensure that the information about the evaluation of geohazards is conveyed to the design team and construction inspectors working in the field.

     -- In-line inspections of the Revolution pipeline, prior to the start-up or operation date for that pipeline.

     -- Multiple annual in-line inspections on the Revolution pipeline, to verify the integrity of the pipeline.

     -- Immediate notice to the PUC’s I&E of any slope failure affecting pipeline integrity, and enhanced procedures to monitor and patrol the entire Revolution pipeline right of way.

     -- Implementation of a quality assurance/quality control program to oversee pipeline siting and construction practices for ETC’s gas and hazardous liquids pipelines in Pennsylvania.

Click Here for a copy of the settlement.  Docket No.: M-2020-3004646

Related Articles - Revolution Pipeline:

-- DEP Issues $30.6 Million Penalty Over ETC Revolution Pipeline Explosion Violations; Lifts Permit Bar

-- DEP Order Requires Payment Of $125,000 Penalty For Latest Revolution Natural Gas Pipeline Construction Violations In Beaver County

-- DEP Orders Energy Transfer Partners To Keep Natural Gas Out Of Unstable Sections Of Revolution Pipeline That Exploded In 2018

-- Natural Gas, Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Are NOT Required To Carry Insurance Or Show They Can Pay For Damages If They Explode, Leak Or Kill Someone

Related Article - PUC:

-- PUC Orders More Than A Dozen Actions To Improve Safety In Construction, Operation Of Mariner East Pipelines; Sunoco Must Pay $2,000 Penalty 

Related Articles This Week - Natural Gas:

-- A First-Hand Account Of How Repeated, Unlimited Road Dumping Of Oil & Gas Drilling Wastewater Is Tearing Apart Dirt Roads And Creating Multiple Environmental Hazards - By Siri Lawson, Farmington Township, Warren County

-- Preliminary Results From New Penn State Study Find Increased Cancer, Health Risks From Road Dumping Conventional Drilling Wastewater, Especially For Children  [PaEN]

-- New Pitt-Duquesne Study Shows Higher Exposures To Radiation In Road Dumping Of Drilling Wastewater When Appropriate Exposure Scenarios Are Used 

-- Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, FracTracker Alliance Call On Citizens To Report Road Dumping Of Oil & Gas Drilling Wastewater 

-- Trout Unlimited: What Do Pennsylvania's Dirt And Gravel Roads Have To Do With Trout?  

-- EQB Accepts Petitions For Study To Increase Oil & Gas Well Bonding; DEP Has $15 Per Well Available In Bonds To Plug Conventional Wells

-- Marcellus Shale Coalition Challenges EQB Authority To Increase Bond Amounts For Conventional Oil & Gas Wells; DEP Has $15 Per Well Available In Bonds To Plug Conventional Wells 

-- DRBC Extends Comment Period On Draft Regulations Covering Discharges Of Wastewater From Fracking Operations & Ban On Road Dumping Of Wastewater & Co-Products

[Posted: November 18, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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