The Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection (DEP) stopped the construction of Sunoco’s controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline project.
The Pennsylvania regulator to suspend Sunoco’s construction permits for the pipeline due to numerous environmental violations. The suspension is a major blow to the company. Its goal is to start the operations of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in the second quarter of 2018.
The Mariner East 2 is an underground pipeline (approximately 350 miles). It is a $2.5 billion project that will deliver butane, ethane, and propane from Marcellus Shale to Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
The DEP said Sunoco must stop all of its construction activities on the pipeline except for certain maintenance. It can only continue the maintenance of erosion controls and limited upkeep of horizontal directional drilling equipment.
In a statement, the department’s Secretary Patrick McDonnell said, DEP has no alternative but to suspend Sunoco’s permits until it can demonstrate it can and will to follow all requirements.
“We are living up to our promise to hold this project accountable to the strong protections in the permits,” added McDonnell.
Sunoco committed egregious and willful violations
According to the DEP, Sunoco committed multiple violations including unauthorized uses of horizontal drilling and discharging industrial waste into waterways among others.
Sunoco must satisfy all the terms in the DEP order including but not limited to the following:
- Address all impacts to private water wells in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County
- Identify all in-progress or upcoming construction activities and detail the specific Chapter 102 and Chapter 105 permit under which the activity is authorized
- Submit a detailed Operations Plan outlining additional measures and controls to minimize inadvertent returns
In the order, DEP said, Sunoco’s “unlawful conduct … demonstrates a lack of ability or intention” on its part to comply with relevant regulations and permits. Therefore, the suspension of permits is necessary so that the company will correct its “egregious and willful violations.”
Sunoco to submit reports related to the Mariner East 2 pipeline
On Wednesday, Sunoco confirmed that it received the DEP order to halt its construction activities involving the Mariner East 2 pipeline.
in a statement, Sunoco said it will submit the reports required by DEP as soon as possible. Additionally, the company expressed confidence that the regulator will immediately reauthorize its permits for the project.
Furthermore, Sunoco reiterated its commitment to the highest level of construction expertise. The company also emphasized that it is dedicated in preserving and protecting the environment.