PA DEP Caves to Big Green Pressure, Stops All Work on ME2 Pipeline

We suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has caved to intense pressure from a cabal of Big Green groups and has told Sunoco Logistics Partners to suspend all work on the $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 (ME2) NGL pipline–from one side of the state to the other. Just yesterday MDN told you about the mounting pressure on the DEP to halt ME2 work, particularly work on underground horizontal directional drilling (see Big Green Says ME2 Pipe Violating Settlement; DEP Turns Up Heat). The shrill voices of Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf’s left flank were so shrill he couldn’t ignore them any longer, hence this action. The DEP in its order said construction will be halted, “until Sunoco can demonstrate that the permit conditions can and will be followed.” So there’s no particular time frame for when Sunoco can resume work–it will be up to the arbitrary gut feeling of the DEP. However, DEP does offer some criteria for when construction may be able to resume. Work can resume IF Sunoco satisfies the terms outlined in DEP’s order, including, but not limited to: (1) Address all impacts to private water wells in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County; (2) Identify all in-progress or upcoming construction activities and detail the specific Chapter 102 and Chapter 105 permit under which the activity is authorized; (3) Submit a detailed Operations Plan outlining additional measures and controls to minimize inadvertent returns. In essence, the DEP is saying Sunoco has willfully violated the permits (and previous settlement) in constructing ME2, and they (DEP) have had enough. The DEP’s action immediately throws thousands of pipeline workers out of jobs across the state–thank you Tom Wolf and DEP. Big Green groups, including the odious Clean Air Council of Philadelphia, pounced on the DEP announcement, saying the agency should not just suspend construction, but CANCEL it. That has been their aim all along. These pressure groups want to stop the ME2 project cold. End it. Kill it. Finish it off. The DEP isn’t ready to grant that particular wish–yet. However, the suspension is certainly not good news for the project nor for thousand of families who will now have to make do with unemployment checks…

Please Login to view this content. (Not a member? Join Today!)
You do not have permission to view the comments.

Please Login to post a comment