Mariner East 2 Starts Up 13 Miles of Pipe in Southeast PA

The mighty Mariner East 2X (ME2X) pipeline project gets closer and closer to 100% completion, despite the efforts of anti-fossil fuelers to hassle and block the project. In a bit of news ignored by mainstream media, another 13-mile stretch of ME2X in southeastern PA between Chester and Delaware counties went online late last week.
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Energy Transfer Lops $400M Off ’20 Budget, Delays Future Projects

Energy Transfer (ET), one of the largest midstream (pipeline) companies in the U.S., is making another major cut in its 2020 capital budget. The company released its first-quarter update yesterday indicating it will cut spending this year by “at least” another $400 million, with a potential extra $300-$400 million cut later in the year. So spending may dip by most of billion dollars extra during 2020.
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PA DEP Accuses ET’s Revolution Pipe of 680 Violations Since Jan 1

This is getting ridiculous. Does anyone really believe that a single pipeline project already built and now getting a redo could possibly have racked up 680 “violations” during construction work over the past five months? We certainly don’t believe it. Yet that’s what the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) alleges. Energy Transfer (ET), the builder and fixer of Revolution, has their own allegation: The DEP itself is “not in compliance with its own guidelines.” Who inspects the inspectors for compliance?
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Ohio Supreme Court Accepts AG Case Against Rover Pipeline

In Nov. 2017 the Ohio Attorney General’s office under then-AG Mike Dewine (RINO swamp dweller, now governor) sued Energy Transfer at the prompting of the Ohio EPA claiming the company’s Rover Pipeline project was guilty of “polluting state waters while constructing a natural gas pipeline across Ohio” (see OH EPA Director Manipulates Atty General to Sue Rover Pipeline). A Stark County judge threw the case out in March 2019 (see OH Judge Tosses AG’s Lawsuit Against Rover Pipe Enviro Violations).
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ET & DEP Still Squabbling over Revolution Pipe, New Violations

Energy Transfer’s Revolution Pipeline runs through Bulter, Beaver, Allegheny, and Washington counties in southwest PA. The 24-inch gathering pipeline shifted and exploded in September 2018, just as it was entering service (see Revolution Pipeline Near Pittsburgh Explodes – Home & Barn Destroyed). What happened that led to a landslide and explosion of the pipeline? ET says historic, unprecedented rain caused the problem. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) says ET took shortcuts and performed work without getting permission–work not up to code. The two sides squabbled until January of this year when the DEP levied a record-high $30.6 million fine (see ET Allowed to Fix/Restart Revolution Pipe…After Record $30M Fine).
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Mariner East Pipe, Shell Cracker Can Restart Construction May 1

Great news! The Mariner East 2 pipeline project along with Shell’s mighty ethane cracker project will once again be able to restart their stopped construction. At least according to our reading of the law. As you may know the Pennsylvania Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has been “reviewing” waiver requests to allow all work to resume for both ME2 and the cracker project (see PA DCED First Grants Then Rescinds ME2 Pipe Construction Waivers and Shell Files for Waiver to Restart PA Cracker Work w/Fewer Workers).
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Fed Court Strongly Rebukes Riverkeeper for Harassing ME2 Pipe

A federal court in Pennsylvania has just verbally slapped down THE Delaware Riverkeeper–both the umbrella Riverkeeper organization and (by name) the person who claims to be THE riverkeeper of the Delaware, Maya van Rossum, for a transparent and pathetic attempt at blocking the Mariner East 2 pipeline project with yet another frivolous lawsuit. In the decision, the judge says the litigation tactics of the Riverkeeper organization “do nothing to protect the environment.” The judge also said to impose liability against ME2 in this case “would offend basic principles of fairness and effect an absurd result” and “violate due process.” Ouch.
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Antis Complain ME2 Pipe Issued Waivers to Keep Working

Officials from both Delaware County and Chester County (suburbs of Philadelphia) sent a letter to state officials earlier this week asking the state to once again shut down critical work being done on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. The county officials, at the prompting (control?) of the uber-leftist and radical Clean Air Council, are using the COVID-19 crisis as their excuse to try and shut down work on the project. In their letter, county officials cite unnamed and anecdotal “sources” who claim (lie?) that workers on the pipeline are violating social-distancing rules–at work and off. Ninny nannies tattling. Do you think workers would jeopardize their own health and the health of their families? No, we don’t think so either.
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PA DCED First Grants Then Rescinds ME2 Pipe Construction Waivers

Remember that old Abbott and Costello comedy routine, “Who’s on First?” That aptly describes what appears to be happening at the Pennsylvania Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED). PA Gov. Tom Wolf issued an edict several weeks ago that bans businesses from working unless they appear on a list of “life-sustaining” activities, in an effort to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Companies can apply for a waiver if they’re not on the life-sustaining list. The DCED is in charge (if you can call it that) of reviewing and issuing the waivers. Yesterday the DCED issued waivers to Energy Transfer to button up some final bits of work on the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project in several locations near Philadelphia. A few hours later DCED rescinded/pulled those waivers. What’s going on?
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Apartment Dwellers Near Philly Sue Sunoco for ME2 Pipe “Nuisance”

More than a dozen residents living in the Turnbridge Apartments in Media (Delaware County), PA recently filed a lawsuit against Sunoco Logistics (Energy Transfer) alleging construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project has created all sorts of problems. The lawsuit says ME2 construction has caused (1) environmental contamination; (2) a major nuisance and inconvenience, especially during 24/7 operations; and (3) intimidation, harassment, fear, and loss of access to outdoor space. This isn’t the first time residents in that area have sued over ME2.
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Shell Pulls Out of Lake Charles LNG Project, Energy Transfer Stays

Is this the beginning of a pullback from LNG project? Scared of the impacts of the coronavirus and the price of oil crashing, Royal Dutch Shell is pulling out of a 50/50 joint venture partnership with Energy Transfer (ET) to build a new LNG export facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In corporate speak, Shell says, “This decision is consistent with the initiatives we announced last week to preserve cash and reinforce the resilience of our business,” and “the time is not right for Shell to invest.” Translation: We’re scared. And who can blame them? All of a sudden there are LNG cargoes sailing the oceans with no place to unload (see LNG Cargoes All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go).
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Some Mariner East 2 Construction Resumes During Lockdown

The confusion over whether or not the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project has (a) shut down all construction, except certain tidying up aspects at certain locations, or (b) has permission by the state to keep on building, is still not 100% settled. On Monday we told you that ME2 construction was in the process of ceasing under orders issued by Gov. Wolf (see Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Shuts Down re COVID-19). However, the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development granted a waiver to ME2 for certain activities.

3/27/20 UPDATE: As we suspected and have now confirmed with an unnamed (but highly reliable) source, the ME2 sites issued waivers to continue construction on Wednesday, March 25th were areas deemed necessary to continue work in order to protect the environment or the public. While there are numerous “sites” where activity has resumed, it represents less than 20% of total project sites. For example, places where there were open cut ditches or partially complete HDDs (underground horizontal directional drilling), the company requested and was approved waivers to restart construction–after an extensive review by the Wolf Administration.
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Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Shuts Down re COVID-19

As we told you last Friday, there was some confusion over whether or not construction of the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline, which is nearing completion, is included under Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s “stop work” order to prevent PA residents and workers from further spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus (see Is ME2 Pipe Construction Stopped Following Wolf COVID-19 Order?). Pipeline infrastructure and utilities are on the “life-sustaining” list, both in PA and as a directive from the federal government. However, “Utility Subsection Construction” was on the non-life-sustaining list–due to be temporarily shut down. ME2 construction continued after Wolf’s Thursday order. The confusion has now cleared, and yes, ME2 construction is in the process of ceasing.
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ME2 Pipeline Worker Charged with Falsifying Welding Records

A worker hired to x-ray welds on sections of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in southwestern Pennsylvania has been charged falsifying records, indicating that he performed the work when he didn’t. That’s a felony. According to one news account the worker, from Westmoreland County, PA, is expected to plead guilty and faces up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. The good news is that Energy Transfer, the builder, discovered the deception and immediately reported it. ET reinspected all of the welds supposedly inspected by this worker.
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PA Sen. Dinniman Tries to Use COVID-19 to Block ME2 Work

PA Sen. Andy Dinniman

Rahm Emanuel (Democrat), former Mayor of Chicago and former Chief of Staff in the Bill Clinton White House, once famously quipped, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” That’s a pretty sleazy thing to say and a pretty sleazy way to behave. But there you go. Another Democrat, PA State Sen. Andy “Tony Soprano” Dinniman is adopting Emanuel’s sleazy strategy. Dinniman has been trying for over two years to shut down construction of Energy Transfer’s Mariner East 2 pipeline project (see Philly Dem Senator Tries to Shut Down ME2 Pipe Construction). He’s been completely unsuccessful. Now he’s trying to use the COVID-19 coronavirus scare to get the project stopped.
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Is ME2 Pipe Construction Stopped Following Wolf COVID-19 Order?

Yesterday Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive edict that all “Non-Life-Sustaining Businesses” will close as of 8 pm last night. Notwithstanding the sleazy attempt by State Sen. Andy Dinniman to shut down construction of the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project by using the virus as an excuse (see today’s companion story), there appears to be some confusion as to whether or not ME2 construction is subject to Wolf’s edict to stop construction. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) refuses to tell ME2 to stop building. However, in Wolf’s list of what is “life-sustaining” and what isn’t, all construction, including “Utility Subsection Construction” is in the stop-work category. Is ME2 or isn’t it still actively under construction at this point?
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