Sunoco cleared by regulator to resume Mariner East 2 pipeline, fined $12M

Mariner-East-Pipeline-Project-20180208

"Today's announcement is by no means the end of DEP's oversight", Patrick McDonnell, the agency's secretary, said in a statement.

Work on the pipeline resumed Thursday morning.

DEP suspended Sunoco's construction activities on 3 January after several pollution spills along the pipeline.

Among the violations reported across the state, the owners of private wells in Cumberland County near North Locust Point Road in Silver Spring Township reported cloudy water in December in areas where the DEP reported that Sunoco's crews used a method of digging that wasn't allowed under its permits. "A permit suspension is one of the most significant penalties DEP can levy". "But we are going to continue our strict oversight".

Pipeline supporters praised DEP's lifting of the suspension, while the move was criticized by opponents.

Sunoco representatives "adequately demonstrated compliance with" or "adequately addressed" all 21 of those stipulations and concerns, according to a document posted to the DEP website.

Additionally, DEP announced that the department and Sunoco have entered into a consent order and agreement outlining the penalty, and as a result, DEP has lifted the order suspending DEP-permitted operations. The penalty is one of the largest civil penalties collected in a single settlement.

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"We are committed to fully complying with the DEP order, which includes following all permit requirements", Shields said.

Others, however, have rallied behind Sunoco, citing the project's many purported economic benefits.

But the agreement only reinforces public misgivings about both entities, he said, and DEP's action Thursday did nothing to alleviate those doubts. Construction of Mariner East 2 will connect to NGL gathering systems in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. "Governor Wolf's message to the thousands of schoolchildren living within the blast zone of the Mariner East 2 is simple: Your safety is less important than Sunoco's profits".

Joseph Minott, executive director of the Clean Air Council, calls that too little, too late.

"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", he said.

The statement said that "all permit conditions will be followed at all times moving forward, as well as additional measures and controls that Sunoco will implement to minimize inadvertent returns and water supply incidents".

Energy companies use horizontal drilling to cross under obstacles like roads and rivers.

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