DEP Announces Suspension of Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Permits
Pennsylvania environmental groups applaud action and ask for continued accountability.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [January 3, 2018 – PHILADELPHIA, PA] The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) today announced it is suspending Mariner East 2 construction permits until Sunoco addresses impacts to private water wells, proves that it has permits for all current and future construction activities, and develops a plan to prevent future water contamination from occurring. The construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline has caused over 100 drilling-fluid spills and continues to contaminate drinking water supplies, streams, and wetlands in many locations across Pennsylvania.
Local and statewide public safety and environmental organizations have raised concerns about the pipeline for years. In December, a number of Pennsylvania legislators called for the suspension of Mariner East 2 construction permits until residents’ concerns are addressed. Senator Dinniman first called for a halt and was joined by Senator Rafferty and Representatives Milne, Comitta, and Krueger-Braneky, with calls from Congressman Meehan and Representative Corbin for a thorough re-evaluation of the project.
Organizations involved with advocacy and legal action on the Mariner East 2 pipeline issued the following statements:
“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.”
“Pipeline Safety Coalition congratulates the collective efforts of citizens, community groups and growing coalition of legislators in this success. This is the first step in re-establishing recognition of our rights, and the government’s responsibilities, under Article 1, § 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution in pipeline siting and safety,” said Lynda Farrell, Executive Director of Pipeline Safety Coalition. “A welcomed – and stunning – start to 2018; we know the hard-working staff at DEP will welcome this halt as we all take time to review and work together to eliminate harms.”
“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. 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,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
“This decision only strengthens our case before the Environmental Hearing Board, showing that Sunoco’s permits should never have been granted and should be considered void,” said Melissa Marshall, attorney with Mountain Watershed Association, one of the groups working to appeal DEP’s permits for Mariner East 2.