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Sunoco Fined 12 Million, Pipeline resumes New Supervisor Board Members Sworn In WG Solicitor and Engineer Possibly Out

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Sunoco pays $12M fine and Pa. puts pipeline back on track

By Bill Rettew, brettew@dailylocal.com

Posted: 02/09/18, 5:33 AM EST | Updated: 6 hrs ago

“The PA DEP’s actions have proven that citizens have been put at risk with little or no oversight of this ill-conceived pipeline project,” Casey said. “The governor was asked to look out for us; he has failed.

“As part of the Citizen’s Risk Assessment team, I am demanding that the PA DEP provide $250,000 of this judgment to our process so that all the factors of risks with this project, as well as ME1 (existing pipeline) can be fully understood. The money will be used to look at all risk factors involved with transporting highly volatile liquids through high consequence areas. We have a right to know just how much danger we are being asked to accept, especially when we are dealing with a company that has a less than stellar performance which could pose higher risks to our health, safety and welfare.”

Tom Casey

“We deserve to know just how big the blast zone is, how many people are in it, and the chances of continued leaks by Sunoco. If Gov. Wolf won’t do his job, the people will.”

Caroline Hughes of Del-Chesco United

“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,” Otis Minott wrote. “I am dismayed by DEP giving this large multinational corporation what amounts to a slap on the wrist for the destruction it has caused to priceless natural resources and harm to nearby residents.

“DEP should have verified that landowners’ concerns would be fully addressed by the agreement. The council and grassroots organizations affected by the pipeline will do everything in their power to ensure DEP will hold Sunoco accountable to the law going forward.”

Joseph Otis Minott, executive director and chief counsel of the Clean Air Council

MIDDLETOWN >> While Sunoco Pipeline got the green light Thursday to resume construction on the Mariner East 2 Pipeline, it came with a cost.

Sunoco and the state Department of Environmental Protection agreed to a $12.6 million civil penalty, as part of a settlement agreement that lifted a Jan. 3 suspension stopping most work on the 350-mile-long project.

The $12.6 million penalty will go to the Clean Water Fund and the Dams and Encroachments Fund. The penalty is one of the largest civil penalties collected in a single settlement.

Plans call for the pipeline to deliver hundreds of thousands of barrels of ethane, propane and butane across the full width of Pennsylvania from Marcellus Shale sites, through large high-density swaths of Delaware and Chester counties, to the former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook.

The DEP referred to the fine as a historic civil penalty and a stringent compliance review, while lifting the order suspending DEP-permitted operations.

“Throughout the life of this project, DEP has consistently held this operator to the highest standard possible,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “A permit suspension is one of the most significant penalties DEP can levy. Our action to suspend the permits associated with this project, and the collection of this penalty, are indicative of the strict oversight that DEP has consistently exercised over this project.

“Today’s announcement is by no means the end of DEP’s oversight. Since the permit suspension over a month ago, Sunoco has demonstrated that it has taken steps to ensure the company will conduct the remaining pipeline construction activities in accordance with the law and permit conditions, and will be allowed to resume. DEP will be monitoring activities closely to ensure that Sunoco is meeting the terms of this agreement and its permits.”

Jeff Shields, Sunoco Pipeline communications manager, said Thursday that the pipeline builder will be mobilizing, but to not expect actual construction to begin immediately. Shields also said that mainline construction is approximately 93 percent complete and horizontal directional drilling is approximately 64 percent complete for in-service.

Shields released this statement:

“Today we entered into a consent order and agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that allows us to resume construction on the Mariner East 2 pipeline. 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.

“We are committed to fully complying with the DEP order, which includes following all permit requirements. Our willingness and ability to comply was acknowledged by the DEP in the consent order and agreement. Safety is paramount for any energy infrastructure project we do – the safety of the communities in which we work and operate the safety of our employees, and the safety of the environment. Mariner East 2 is critical to Pennsylvania’s economy, and resumption of construction will put thousands of workers back on the job. We look forward to completing the Mariner East 2 project safely and beginning service in a timely manner.”

Mariner East 2 has been under consistent attack by ever-growing community groups opposed to its routing through densely populated areas and in close proximity to elementary schools, churches and senior centers.

Food & Water Watch organizer Sam Rubin blasted the agreement.

“This outrageous deal sacrifices the health and safety of Pennsylvanians for mere pocket change from Sunoco. Gov. (Tom) 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.

“But make no mistake: The communities threatened by this pipeline will protect themselves from this danger, with or without Gov. Wolf’s support,” he said.

Critics have been seeking an independent risk assessment study of the project. Delaware County Council is considering performing such a study. State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19 of West Whiteland, has been pushing Wolf for a similar study at the state level.

“What we have is a $12.6 million fine. And it seems to me that the very least DEP could do is dedicate a portion of that to obtaining an independent risk assessment of Mariner East 2 , or even support our effort do so. Our residents and their families deserve to know and thoroughly understand the risks and potential safety issues at stake. So far, citizens have already raised $14,000 of a $50,000 goal to obtain the assessment. There is no reason why the administration cannot bridge that gap. After all, that’s something it should have done from the beginning,” Dinniman said.

“I find the timing of this announcement very interesting,” Dinniman said. “First, it was released to the public on a day that so many residents of our region are preoccupied with the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Victory parade and celebration. Second, it comes just days after Sunoco filed an appeal to the suspension. Remember, the suspension order was issued on Jan. 3. Sunoco had one month to respond and they did so on the very last possible day, Feb. 2. And then, less than a week later we have a settlement. It’s almost like DEP couldn’t settle soon enough.

“The bottom line is you cannot put a price tag on the health, safety, and well being of our communities. We still don’t have an independent risk and safety assessment of Mariner East II. We still don’t have any regulation of the placement of intrastate pipelines in Pennsylvania. We still don’t have rules governing the placement or permitting of pipelines in high-density or high-consequence areas.”

Tom Casey, a West Goshen resident, member of Del-Chesco United and chairman of the Risk Assessment Committee, said he is demanding part of the settlement pay for a risk assessment study.

“The PA DEP’s actions have proven that citizens have been put at risk with little or no oversight of this ill-conceived pipeline project,” Casey said. “The governor was asked to look out for us; he has failed.

“As part of the Citizen’s Risk Assessment team, I am demanding that the PA DEP provide $250,000 of this judgment to our process so that all the factors of risks with this project, as well as ME1 (existing pipeline) can be fully understood. The money will be used to look at all risk factors involved with transporting highly volatile liquids through high consequence areas. We have a right to know just how much danger we are being asked to accept, especially when we are dealing with a company that has a less than stellar performance which could pose higher risks to our health, safety and welfare.” Grass roots organization Del Chesco United for Pipeline Safety was unhappy as well.

“Gov. Wolf failed to use the suspension period to assess the risk Mariner East imposes on vulnerable, dense populations. In January 2018 alone, the federal government issued three additional Notices of Probable Violation of safety regulations to Sunoco, clear evidence of a pattern of ongoing noncompliance,” the group said in a statement.

“Gov. Wolf continues to pay more attention to Sunoco’s interests than he does to the safety of seniors and children of Pennsylvania. Citizens of Delaware and Chester Counties are committed to working with Sen. Dinniman and Sen. Rafferty to obtain an expert, independent, public investigation of the hazards associated with Mariner East.

Caroline Hughes of Del-Chesco United said, “We deserve to know just how big the blast zone is, how many people are in it, and the chances of continued leaks by Sunoco. If Gov. Wolf won’t do his job, the people will.”

Joseph Otis Minott, executive director and chief counsel of the Clean Air Council, was also critical.

“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,” Otis Minott wrote. “I am dismayed by DEP giving this large multinational corporation what amounts to a slap on the wrist for the destruction it has caused to priceless natural resources and harm to nearby residents.

“DEP should have verified that landowners’ concerns would be fully addressed by the agreement. The council and grassroots organizations affected by the pipeline will do everything in their power to ensure DEP will hold Sunoco accountable to the law going forward.”

The order contained detailed facts and findings related to the violations, and 21 specified performance obligations. In response to the Jan. 3 order, Sunoco submitted an initial response on Jan. 12 as well as two supplemental responses on Jan. 22 and 29 in response to DEP requests for additional information and clarification.

Sunoco also submitted numerous exhibits with additional information required by the order. These included an extensive revised operations plan setting forth additional measures and controls Sunoco will put in place to ensure 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.

After reviewing all submitted materials, and conducting extensive additional inspection activities since the suspension was issued, DEP approved the submissions as meeting all of the requirements to submit information in the Jan. 3 order. Information about the violations as well as Sunoco’s submissions to the Department can be viewed at www.dep.pa.gov/Business/ProgramIntegration/Pennsylvania-Pipeline-Portal/Pages/Mariner-East-II.aspx.

In addition, the civil penalty resolves the violations that were noted in the Jan. 3 order and violations identified through Sunoco’s response to the order. Pursuant to the COA, Sunoco will withdraw its appeal of the Jan. 3 order.

“DEP will continue to monitor and enforce the conditions of the permits, and will take necessary enforcement actions for any future violations,” said McDonnell. “If a resident should witness pollution from the pipeline affecting streams or other waterways, then please alert DEP at 1-800-541-2050.”

The Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance released a statement noting benefits associated with pipeline construction.

According to a Sunoco financed study, consultant Econsult Solutions projected work will generate a one-time economic impact of nearly $9.1 billion in Pennsylvania and support 57,070 jobs during the entire construction period — the equivalent to 9,520 jobs each year for six years — with earnings of $2.7 billion. The report also states that the Mariner East projects could generate an estimated $122 million in total to the commonwealth over the length of the construction period.

Not everyone had second thoughts about the restart. Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, was pleased.

“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 energy infrastructure projects. DEP’s action proves that regulators are being an effective watchdog to ensure safe, responsible development. With the stop-work order lifted, this project can get back on track and Pennsylvania’s skilled laborers can get back to work.”

The GAIN Coalition issued the following statement, attributed to Craig Stevens, spokesman for the coalition:

“The GAIN Coalition is pleased that the Department of Environmental Protection and Sunoco were able to come to a relatively quick consent agreement that will let construction to restart on the Mariner East 2 pipeline. There are thousands of construction workers who have been sidelined during this work stoppage and they will now be able to get back to their jobs.

“Once completed, the ME2 pipeline will allow more of Pennsylvania’s energy to be developed paying dividends in Western Pennsylvania, while also leading to the creation of hundreds of permanent jobs in the Marcus Hook region, revitalizing that community in the Southeast. In short, completing this project will be a big step in securing Pennsylvania’s economic future and our nation’s energy security.”

Steamfitters Local 420 noted that Mariner East 2 is responsible for more than 300,000 man hours of work among Local 420 members in just the southeastern portion of construction alone. The entire Mariner East project, along with revitalization of Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in Delaware County, has meant more than 2 million man hours and $170 million in wages and benefits for Local 420 members.

“These projects have been a godsend for Local 420 members,” Steamfitters Local 420 Business Manager Anthony Gallagher said. “Today’s pipelines are built with the most up-to-date technology to ensure the safety of communities and the environment.

“These systems are constructed by skilled laborers who have advanced training and education, both in the classroom and in the field. Safety is our highest priority. Remember our workers live here, too. That’s why we’re so focused not just on getting back on the job, but making sure the job gets done right.

“These are local trades doing the work. That’s good news for our workers and great news for our communities, because having skilled tradesmen on the job enhances safety and efficiency in building and maintenance,” Gallagher said. “Projects like this are good for Pennsylvania and deserve our support.”

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New Dem board eyes changes in West Goshen; solicitor and engineer possibly out

New supervisor Robin Stuntebeck takes the oath of office from retired Judge Gwenn Knapp in West Goshen Tuesday night. BILL RETTEW JR. – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA

By Bill Rettew, brettew@dailylocal.com

WEST GOSHEN >> The township’s board of supervisors – now controlled by Democrats – is considering some changes.

A motion was made by newly elected Democratic Supervisor Mary LaSota, and agreed to by the board, to begin a search for a new township solicitor. The township will possibly replace, within 120 days, the law firm Buckley, Brion, McGuire and Morris.

The board also voted, after a motion was made by new Democratic Supervisor Robin Stuntebeck, to start a search, which might last a calendar year, for a new consulting engineer. Carroll Engineering Corporation currently serves the township.

The third Democrat on the five-member board, Chris Pielli, was chosen by his peers to become chairman of the board. Stuntebeck will serve as vice chair.

Pielli said the township hopes to start a “selection process fair to the community” while seeking the “best service for the best price.”

New supervisor Robin Stuntebeck takes the oath of office from retired Judge Gwenn Knapp in West Goshen Tuesday night. BILL RETTEW JR. – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA

Pielli said that the township will “go out and look around,” while using due diligence.

Most monthly Board of Supervisors meetings will move a week later in the month and now be held on the third Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Pielli said that the extra week will give staff and the board more “turnaround” time.

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Pennsylvania DEP shuts down construction on Sunoco gas pipeline project.

PETE BANNAN – DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA

By Bill Rettew, brettew@dailylocal,com

Posted: 01/03/18, 5:25 PM EST | Updated: 21 hrs ago

WEST GOSHEN >> Already several months behind schedule, construction of the Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline was hit with another major setback Wednesday when the state Department of Environmental Protection shut down all construction on the project.

Work on the pipeline was indefinitely suspended statewide by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, which said the project would remain stalled until Sunoco complies with the terms of its permitting process.

The ruling comes in the wake of the most recent problem with the project, with the DEP citing the company for drilling without the proper permitting in a section of the pipeline near Harrisburg.

The company has said it is trying to abide by the DEP permitting rules and regulations. The state is now demanding Sunoco come up with a plan to address the problems with Mariner East 2.

Sunoco Pipeline LP can do only basic maintenance of equipment on-site, maintenance of erosion control and limited maintenance of horizontal drilling, according to the state agency’s edict.

Under the order, the DEP noted that construction will cease until Sunoco submits a detailed operations plan outlining additional measures to control and minimize inadvertent returns.

Sunoco has discharged drilling fluid more than 100 times, including four times this fall, during a four-day time period, at the same location in East Goshen Township.

Sunoco also must also address the impact to private wells in Silver Spring Township, near Harrisburg, where a recent spill occurred during drilling that was outside the scope of the permits issued to Sunoco, according to DEP.

Earlier this summer, Sunoco fouled drinking water wells in about 30 West Whiteland Township wells and then hooked up homeowners to public water and awarded each homeowner $60,000.

The pipeline company will also need to better address environmental permitting regulations, the DEP order stated.

Gov. Tom Wolf has been under increasing pressure from elected officials and citizen groups to halt construction on the pipeline until a new safety study on the project could be completed.

Wolf’s press secretary J.J. Abbott issued a statement Wednesday.

“Gov. Wolf has made clear from the onset that he expects DEP to hold all permittees accountable to the conditions and requirements of Pennsylvania law which are implemented in all permits that are issued. DEP today is doing just that,” Abbott said. “This suspension will remain in place until the operator demonstrates compliance with the administrative order that DEP issued. This provides assurance that going forward it will uphold all obligations under the strict permits issued for this project.

“It is incredibly important that operators adhere to the terms of their permit. A failure to do so puts jobs for the citizens of our commonwealth and investment in our communities at risk.”

The head of the DEP said in light of recent reports of new problems with pipeline work, the state had little choice.

“Until Sunoco can demonstrate that the permit conditions can and will be followed, DEP has no alternative but to suspend the permits,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We are living up to our promise to hold this project accountable to the strong protections in the permits.”

Jeff Shields, Sunoco Pipeline Communications Manager responded.

“We received an order this morning from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that instructed us to suspend construction activities in Pennsylvania with respect to Mariner East 2 until reauthorized by the Pennsylvania DEP,” Shields said. “The order requires us to submit various reports related to current and future construction activities. We intend to expeditiously submit these reports and we are confident that we will be reauthorized to commence work on this project promptly. We also reiterate our commitment to the highest levels of construction expertise and our dedication to preserving and protecting the environment in which we conduct our work.”

State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-156, along with six Chester and Delaware county residents, met with Gov. Wolf on Dec. 20.

“I thank the people for speaking loudly and persistently,” Comitta said. “I also thank the governor for listening to the concerns of our citizens and making public safety a priority.”

Melissa DiBernardino, of East Goshen Township, also spoke to the governor on Dec. 20.

“This is absolutely needed but it’s only a small part of it,” DiBernardino said. “It’s not addressing what is rightfully ours – our safety.”

Karen Feridun, Pennsylvania resident and founder of Berks Gas Truth, added: “The Department of Environmental Protection’s temporary suspension of Sunoco’s permits is a toothless act that falls far short of providing any real protection to communities in the path of the Mariner East 2 pipeline. The company has demonstrated itself to be indifferent to public health, safety, and property rights and to the regulatory process. It’s time for the DEP to shut down this unnecessary and dangerous pipeline once and for all.”

Eric Friedman is spokesperson for the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety has been busy fighting the pipeline from his home turf in Delaware County.

“The governor has been asked by thousands of concerned Pennsylvanians to halt the construction and assess the risk to vulnerable, dense populations across our commonwealth,” Friedman wrote. “Rather than addressing this request, Gov. Wolf directed his Department of Environmental Protection to take long-overdue enforcement action with respect to massive destruction associated with Sunoco’s botched and willfully noncompliant construction activities.”

State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19, has helped lead the charge against construction.

“Residents in Chester County and throughout the commonwealth have built a strong and widespread grassroots coalition dedicated to asserting their rights and voices in the face of the growing network of pipelines crisscrossing our state,” Dinniman sated Wednesday. “This latest development is a testament to their strength, determination, and advocacy. We called for a halt to the pipeline in July, we took the message directly to Harrisburg in the fall, and I personally pushed for it again as early as yesterday.

“Although I am thrilled to see these efforts gaining traction and getting results, this is by no means an end to this process. And I, as state senator, will continue to meet my constitutional responsibility to stand with and for the health, safety and well-being of my constituents, while demanding that others, including state departments and agencies do the same.”

State Rep. Duane Milne, R-167, also commented on Wednesday.

“In conjunction with other public officials, I have been expressing my concerns and raising objections to this project, given the numerous problems encountered along its path. This was the right decision at this point. As I have called for in the past: this project needs a complete reboot.

“Numerous concerns regarding public safety, geological conditions and environmental protection continue, quite rightly, to be raised. These must be addressed in the process of determining the future viability of this particular pipeline route. Until a thorough review takes place, the project should not move forward.

“Rather than changing the subject, the governor should recognize and act on his responsibility to assess new threats to public safety, like those imposed by Sunoco’s recklessly conceived Mariner East.”

State Rep. Becky Corbin, R-155, issued a Wednesday statement: “I’m pleased to see that DEP has taken action against Sunoco to protect the health and safety of the commonwealth’s residents and visitors. On numerous occasions, I wrote to DEP regarding concerns I had about work on the project in my legislative district. Sensitive environmental features cannot be replaced once lost. In addition, it is important that potential public safety concerns are addressed to prevent a tragedy.”

State Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr., R-44, said the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to temporarily suspend construction permits associated with the Mariner East 2 pipeline is a victory for public safety and environmental protection.

“The safety and well-being of our citizens should always be our top priority and I commend the governor for his action today,” Rafferty said. “I and my colleagues, Senator Andy Dinniman and Representative Becky Corbin, along with our engaged citizen pipeline safety coalitions, have specifically requested that the governor take the necessary step that he took today. Now before moving forward, we must make certain that Sunoco complies with our laws and regulations and respects the health and welfare of all of our citizens.”

State Rep. Chris Quinn, R-168, suggested a course of caution.

“Once Sunoco corrects all of its violations, and allows drilling to occur in a safe manner, the company must remain vigilant and continue to responsibly operate and maintain the pipeline to ensure public safety,” Quinn said. “I am calling on Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration to conduct a full risk assessment to analyze the potentially catastrophic harm that a leak or other malfunction could cause.

“This pipeline will run directly through densely populated neighborhoods and right past schools, leaving our children highly vulnerable. We must know the risk and we must know it before drilling resumes.”

State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161, said she was “relieved” to see construction halted.

“Construction on the Mariner East 2 pipeline across Pennsylvania — but especially in Delaware and Chester counties — has impacted drinking water, wreaked havoc on private property, and posed a grave danger to our citizens,” she said. “Sunoco Logistics has shown a blatant disregard for these things that we hold dear and which are protected by our state Constitution. I thank Governor Wolf and Secretary McDonnell for their attention to this issue and for suspending the construction of this pipeline.”

Sam Rubin, of the environmental group Food and Water, went a step further, urging Wolf to shut down the project altogether.

“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but the only responsible course of action for Gov. Wolf is to stop the Mariner East 2 altogether,” Rubin said. “This project, which was greenlighted with flawed permits, was never going to be safe for the people of Pennsylvania.

“What we really need is a full and permanent halt to construction and a full, transparent, and public assessment of the risks associated with the Mariner East 2. The movement to stop the pipeline will be using this temporary halt to build the power we know we’ll need to protect communities from Mariner East once and for all.”

Kurt Knaus, a spokesperson of the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, offered a contrasting opinion, urging a quick settlement of the dispute so work on the pipeline can resume.

“Sunoco and DEP should work expeditiously to resolve this matter in order for safe pipeline construction to continue – not just for the benefit of the workers who may be idled, but also for the full protection of Pennsylvania’s environment,” Knaus wrote in a Wednesday release. “Industry experts agree that actions that cause construction and horizontal directional drilling to start and stop, start and stop have the potential for even greater harm.

“This project remains critically important for our commonwealth. Sunoco and DEP should work expeditiously to resolve this matter so safe construction can resume and this vital project can get back on track.”

The $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 project is projected to ferry as much as 250,000 barrels of gases such as butane, ethane and propane across the full width of the state, from the Marcellus Shale regions to the former Sunoco refinery complex in Marcus Hook.

“Clean Air Council applauds Governor Wolf’s DEP for finally standing up and taking this necessary action in response to Sunoco’s pattern of blatant disregard for public health and safety, Pennsylvania drinking water supplies, and other natural resources,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council. “We look forward to DEP holding Sunoco accountable on this suspension and all future actions that may need to be taken to protect Pennsylvania residents.”

Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter Director Joanne Kilgour issued the following statement: “The spills and legal violations of the Mariner East 2 are exactly why Pennsylvanians and the Sierra Club opposed this project from the beginning. Local residents along the pipeline route have organized to defend the health and safety of their communities, warning that the Mariner East 2 would cause pollution and impact private water supplies. DEP’s decision to suspend the permits required for construction affirms that the concerns raised by these community members were valid, and that the pipeline should never have been approved in the first place. We hope the Wolf Administration will take this opportunity to re-evaluate its insufficient approach to the permitting of pipeline projects and other fossil fuel projects throughout Pennsylvania.”

Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper and leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, said Wednesday that the organization helped negotiate some of the permitting rules.

“Today’s order from DEP ultimately represents DEP’s understanding that Sunoco shamelessly broke a number of terms and conditions that Delaware Riverkeeper Network and others helped secure through litigation with the department in a settlement agreement, van Rossum said. “This project was flawed from the start, and it is disgraceful that these flaws have manifested themselves in such a way that the public’s health, and environment have been significantly impacted.

“This order provides further evidence that the project should never have been authorized by DEP in the first place.”

West Goshen activist Tom Casey had the last word: “It would seem that the efforts of so many people, who are fighting for our rights, have gotten through to state officials. Due to Sunoco’s low standards, lack of expertise in pipeline coordination, and inability to follow the rules, the DEP has provided a crucial first step in holding them accountable. But there is more that needs to be done. We are demanding, for the sake of the countless thousands of residents, workers, and commuters who are near these lines, that the governor has a quantitative risk analysis completed for every township. We still do not know the extent of the danger that hardworking Pennsylvanians are being asked to accept along the Mariner East 2 pipeline path.

source


DEP accuses Sunoco of unauthorized drilling

By Bill Rettew, brettew@dailylocal.com

Posted: 01/02/18, 3:49 PM EST

SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP >> Sunoco is again feeling the heat after the Department of Environmental Protection accused the pipeline builder of drilling without authorization.

The DEP alleges that Sunoco impacted two fresh water wells on Dec. 18, about 10 miles west of Harrisburg, when utilizing horizontal directional drilling, without authorization. The 350-mile Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline is now under construction.

The DEP maintains that the approved method of pipeline installation at that location was by open trench.

The DEP also alleges that a Nov. 17 inspection in Berks County also revealed unauthorized drilling.

Sediment first showed up in a West Whiteland Township couple’s well water in July. Sunoco later agreed to hook up about 30 residents to public water and pay each homeowner $60,000.

Sunoco was also rebuked for likely causing a six-foot backyard sinkhole in West Whiteland and not reporting it in a timely fashion.

Kathryn Urbanowicz, staff attorney with Clean Air Council, fired off a letter to associates.

“For this secret, unauthorized drilling to happen even once is outrageous,” she wrote. “For it to happen twice – that we are aware of — makes an utter mockery of DEP and all the calls of the public for increased safety and transparency.

“It is painfully clear the DEP’s enforcement efforts are not consequential enough for Sunoco to deem it worthwhile to follow the law.”

The DEP alleges that the permittee (Sunoco) was not authorized to use horizontal directional drilling at the central Pennsylvania site.

The Dec. 22 notice of violation reads: “A request to modify the permit must be submitted by the permittee and approved by DEP before the permittee may commence any construction or earth disturbance activities that are not included in the information submitted in support of the application.”

Plans call for the Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline to stretch from Marcellus Shale deposits in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, to the former Sunoco Refinery in Marcus Hook, Delaware County.

Jeff Shields, Sunoco Pipeline Communication Manager, released the following statement Tuesday:

“The Clean Air Council is making statements that are simply false. We have made every effort in the construction of this more than 300-mile project to respect and follow the stringent conditions of our environmental permits.

“In instances where a different construction method was used other than what was outlined in the permit, the method chosen had a lesser environmental impact. We are working with the DEP to address any construction issues and to ensure that any changes to permitted activities are approved in advance.

“Regarding the Clean Air Council’s water claims, there have been no wells impacted in Cumberland County in the way they suggest. We did have some residents complain of a drop in water levels, which we are investigating. Finally, nothing we do in building this important infrastructure project is ‘secret.’

“All our construction is subject to extensive and unprecedented agency oversight and reporting requirements, which are published by the DEP, making Mariner East 2 not only the largest construction project to date in Pennsylvania, but also the most transparent.”

Urbanowicz said during a Tuesday phone interview that the violations were not accidents.

“It seems like Sunoco is making a decision to go against the environmental protections in place,” she said. “They’re undermining the whole process and the public’s ability to protect itself.”

The DEP required Sunoco to submit daily construction logs, including logs, covering the time when drilling started.

Those logs should document each day of activity, start and stop times for drilling, stage of drilling process, approximate progress, drill pressure, depth of cover, and any loss of pressure or drilling fluids.

Sunoco was also reminded that it had to offer well water users located within 450 feet of all horizontal directional drilling sites free water sampling, before, during and after the start of drilling.

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DEP accuses Sunoco of unauthorized drilling Pennsylvania DEP shuts down construction on Sunoco gas pipeline project. New Dem board eyes changes in West Goshen; solicitor and engineer possibly out
Sunoco pays $12M fine and Pa. puts pipeline back on track

“It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” — Grace Hopper

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