Sunoco’s ME1 Pipe Restarts, ME2 Pipe Pays Another $355K in Fines

On March 3, the Mariner East 1 (ME1) natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline was suddenly switched off by order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) after a sinkhole opened up under the pipeline in Chester County, exposing some of the bare steel to the open air (see PA PUC Shuts Down Mariner 1 Pipeline Due to Mariner 2 Sinkhole). Sunoco Logistics Partners, the owner of ME1, is building a new set of pipelines called Mariner East 2 (ME2) close to the existing ME1 pipeline. Construction work in the area on ME2 led to the sinkhole that exposed ME1. The PUC asked Sunoco to drill holes and pour concrete in them to firm up ME1, which Sunoco did (see PA PUC Asks Sunoco to Drill Holes, Pour Concrete to Firm Up ME1). A full two months after ordering ME1 turned off, costing Sunoco (and Range Resources) millions of dollars in lost revenue, the PUC told Sunoco they could restart ME1. As of today, propane and ethane have resumed flowing through ME1. But what The Almighty State grants with one hand, it takes away with the other. Although Sunoco paid a massive $12.6 million fine in February to the Dept. of Environmental Protection related to ME2 construction misadventures (see Sunoco LP Pays PA DEP $12.6M to Resume ME2 Pipeline Construction), yesterday the DEP assessed Sunoco *another* $355,622 penalty for more ME2 misadventures–what DEP calls “violations of the Clean Streams Law”…

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