Dangerous Spills and Well Pollution Lead to Legal Action, Groups Call for Shutdown of Mariner East 2 Drilling
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(PHILADELPHIA, PA – July 19, 2017) On Wednesday, Clean Air Council, Mountain Watershed Association, Inc., and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, joined the voices of elected officials and impacted residents calling for Sunoco Pipeline L.P. to put a halt to drilling operations associated with the construction of the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipelines. Sunoco’s use of horizontal directional drilling has destroyed at least one aquifer, contaminating and clogging the wells on the properties of Chester County families, ultimately driving these families from their homes. As of yesterday, Sunoco has drilled into a separate aquifer in Delaware County and a water well there is being tested for possible contamination. Private wells have also been damaged in at least two other Pennsylvania regions by Sunoco’s drilling.
In a filing with the Environmental Hearing Board, the groups provided documentation of more than 61 drilling fluid spills that have occurred in less than a two-month period spanning from late April to mid-June. Construction has been underway since February and remains ongoing. Across the state, Sunoco has unleashed drilling fluid into exceptional value wetlands, high-quality trout streams, reservoirs, and groundwater endangering both drinking water supplies and our natural environment.
“The problems with Sunoco’s drilling are far greater than the public has been led to believe and are already threatening public health and safety,” said Alex Bomstein, Senior Litigation Attorney, Clean Air Council. “The vast majority of these spills have never been disclosed to the public, despite being known to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Sunoco.”
Clean Air Council and partner organizations are prosecuting an ongoing appeal of the severely deficient water permits that were issued by the Department of Environmental Protection for the Mariner East 2 project on Feb. 13, 2017. As part of that appeal, the groups are asking that the Environmental Hearing Board suspend drilling until it has had an opportunity to complete a full review of the legality of those permits.
“Until drilling can be done safely, Sunoco is putting Pennsylvanians at risk,” said Melissa Marshall, Esq., Community Advocate, Mountain Watershed Association. “In their rush to complete the project, Sunoco began construction without knowing all of the locations of water wells along the route. Now the entire state is paying the price.”
“Sunoco is devastating our communities and environment,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. “Each day the stories of abuse and damage grow. It is troubling that yet again nonprofit organizations and residents have to take the legal steps necessary to protect our natural resources.”
“For residents along and near the pipeline route, it is important to get your water tested so you have a baseline for comparison,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Esq. Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council. “Be vigilant. If you notice changes in your drinking water or the streams, lakes, or wetlands you visit, report them to the Department of Environmental Protection and check with your neighbors, who may be having similar problems. Clean Air Council hosts a full list of steps to protect yourself and your property on our website, cleanair.org/pipelines.”
About Clean Air Council
Clean Air Council is a member- supported, nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to protecting everyone’s right to breathe clean air. The Council is headquartered in Philadelphia and works through public education, community advocacy, and government oversight to ensure enforcement of environmental laws. For more information, please visit www.cleanair.org.
Contact: Katie Edwards, Clean Air Council
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