Health Care

State fines Sunoco pipeline US$12.7 million

State fines Sunoco pipeline US$12.7 million

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday that it issued a $12.6 million penalty against Sunoco Pipeline regarding the Marine East 2 project, and let the project continue under increased scrutiny.

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

The Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday that Sunoco Pipeline has made changes since work on the $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 pipeline was halted January 3.

He did not say when the company planned to put the pipeline in service, noting that about 93 percent of mainline pipe construction and about 64 percent of horizontal directional drilling was complete.

Sunoco says it is committed to complying with the terms of the agreement and considers safety a top priority.

"While we strongly disagree with their legal conclusions that our conduct was willful or egregious, we felt it was important to our unit holders and to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that we move forward rather than engage in continued litigation", Shields said in the email.

On Jan. 3, DEP officials suspended construction permits issued for the project, citing violations of the state Clean Streams Law and Title 25 of the Pennsylvania Code.

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"DEP and Sunoco just cut this deal and nothing went before Judge Labuskes so we have no clue as to if this actually means Sunoco is going to change their way of business and start behaving", he said.

"Nothing in this agreement adequately addresses our ongoing concerns regarding the proximity of the pipeline to schools, daycare facilities, parks, libraries, and senior living communities", Dinniman said in a statement. They have been seeking an independent risk assessment study of the project.

Dinniman's concerns were echoed by Del-Chesco United for Public Safety, a community group that says the pipeline represents a grave risk to public safety, especially in DE and Chester counties.

"Throughout the life of this project, DEP has consistently held this operator to the highest standard possible", DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in the press release.

Sunoco is a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, the Dallas-based company that developed and operates the contentious Dakota Access pipeline in the Great Plains. "DEP's action proves that regulators are being an effective watchdog to ensure safe, responsible development", said Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance.

That earlier suspension forced ETP to delay until the second quarter of this year the expected startup of Mariner East 2.