State fines Sunoco pipeline US$12.7 million

Pipeline work likely to resume after Sunoco fined $12.6 million by Pennsylvania authorities

Pipeline work likely to resume after Sunoco fined $12.6 million by Pennsylvania authorities

Work on the Mariner East II pipeline project is expected to resume, following the lifting of a suspension of the pipeline announced today, February 8, by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

"Sunoco has demonstrated that it has taken steps to ensure the company will conduct the remaining pipeline activities in accordance with the law and permit conditions, and will be allowed to resume", Pennsylvania's Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement.

This was corrected on 02/08/2018 at 04:35 PM.

"I am not satisfied that DEP and Sunoco's agreement will be robust enough to prevent the same types of egregious environmental harm from occurring during future construction", said Joseph Otis Minott, executive director of Clean Air Council, a Philadelphia-based environmental group that has led legal challenges to Mariner East 2.

Work on the pipeline resumed Thursday morning. The penalty is one of the largest civil penalties collected in a single settlement.

"The restart of this project is good news for the workers who were idled and hoping for a speedy resolution after construction was halted, and good news for commonwealth residents who are eager to realize the benefits of one of the state's largest infrastructure energy projects", said Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the pro-pipeline Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance. A 24-page administrative order suspended construction permits associated with the pipeline until Sunoco met a laundry list of requirements outlined in the order.

Sunoco officials also agreed to withdraw an appeal of the January 3 suspension order, according to DEP. The funds are earmarked for clean-up efforts in dams and nearby streams.

Sunoco Pipeline in a statement Thursday said it was "committed to fully complying with the DEP order".

But the agreement only reinforces public misgivings about both entities, he said, and DEP's action Thursday did nothing to alleviate those doubts.

"Gov. Wolf's message to the thousands of school children living within the blast zone of the Mariner East II is simple: Your safety is less important than Sunoco's profits", Rubin said.

On Jan. 3, the DEP shut down construction related to permits it had issued, citing repeated violations.

"DEP will be monitoring activities closely to ensure that Sunoco is meeting the terms of this agreement and its permits", Shader said. The pipeline company said mainline pipeline construction on the project was approximately 93% complete and horizontal directional drilling approximately 64% complete.

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