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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PA DEP Schedules 3 Hearings on Permit Changes for ME2 Pipe

NOTE: These hearings have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Although the public hearings are canceled, individuals are still encouraged to submit comments about the proposed permit modifications and air plan approvals, as comments submitted for the record to DEP carry equal weight to those delivered in-person. Comments must be received by May 8, 2020, at 11:59 PM. Written comments should be mailed to the Waterways and Wetlands Program, 2 E. Main Street, Norristown, PA, 19401. Comments may also be submitted via email at [email protected] with the subject designating which modification request the comment is intended for.

It’s time to come out and support the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project at a series of three public hearings scheduled by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) in April near Philadelphia. That is if the hearings are actually held. DEP has scheduled one hearing in Delaware County (April 14) and two hearings in Chester County (April 15 & 16) on plans to issue the project state Chapter 102 (Erosion) and Chapter 105 (Water Encroachment) permits for construction in those locations.
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Ode to ME2: SWPA Resident Loves Sounds of Pipeline Progress

Drilling, whirring, humming, thumping, grinding, engines running, hammering, back-up warning beeps, banging, clanging. Those are the sounds of progress happening in Chester County, PA. Contrary to the griping and moaning mainstream media reports about those who live near Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline construction, the sounds of ME2 construction are music for at least one local resident because he knows about the economic prosperity this project will bring to the region.
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PA PUC Fines Mariner East 1 $200K, Orders “Remaining Life” Study

In April 2017 (almost three years ago) the Mariner East 1 pipeline sprung a small leak and spilled 20 barrels (~840 gallons) of ethane and propane in Berks County, near Philadelphia. Sunoco Logistics Partners, builder and maintainer of the pipeline, shut it down and fixed it over the next several days. Yesterday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced a “settlement” with Sunoco, to fine the company $200,000. Sunoco, as part of the settlement, must also conduct a “remaining life” study of the pipeline. After all, it is almost 90 years old.
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PA DEP Issues Permits for ME2 Pipe Work in Blair, Perry Counties

In January the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) lifted a moratorium (in place for more than a year) on new construction permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project (see PA DEP Slaps Energy Transfer Again – $2M Fine re Mariner East 2). All new pipeline construction by Energy Transfer was on hold following a pipeline explosion in western PA in September 2018 (see Revolution Pipeline Near Pittsburgh Explodes – Home & Barn Destroyed). With the moratorium lifted, the DEP has just issued two of the first (maybe THE first) permits to allow construction on the final bits of ME2 to begin–in Blair and Perry counties.
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ET Update: Mariner East Loses Some NGLs to Mid-Con, Northern NY

Energy Transfer, a huge pipeline company that builds and maintains Marcellus/Utica pipelines including Rover and the Mariner projects, released its fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 update earlier this week. The company reports making the most profit it has ever made in its 25-year history–$3.6 billion in profit for 2019 (more than triple the $1.1 billion made in 2018). Although ET’s financial performance is impressive, it was comments made during the quarterly conference call with analysts about the Mariner East pipeline project that caught our attention.
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PA Court Turns Down Chester Co. Request to Block ME Construction

Score another victory for the Mariner East Pipeline project in southeast Pennsylvania. On Tuesday Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled against Chester County Commissioners and their attempt to obtain an injunction to stop construction of the Mariner East pipeline project. The petition fought to curtail open trench construction rather than horizontal directional drilling on two easements the county gave to the pipeline. Energy Transfer/Sunoco Logistics wants to change from using underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to instead use conventional bore or open trench technology on those easements, which would avoid more problems with HDD already experienced during construction.
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Mariner West Seeks to Move Marcellus Ethane to Michigan & Canada

click for larger version

You always hear about Energy Transfer’s Mariner East pipeline projects (ME1, ME2, and ME2X), but you hardly ever hear about Mariner West. Did you know that ET’s Mariner West hauls ethane from shale processing and fractionation areas near Houston, Pennsylvania to Marysville, Michigan and all the way to Sarnia, Ontario? That’s right. They can flow up to 50,000 barrels a day!
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Lancaster Couple Guilty of Trespass re Mariner East 2 Pipeline

Last December the husband and wife team of Mark and Melinda Clatterbuck got themselves arrested for illegal trespass and disorderly conduct at a Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline site near Philadelphia (see Antis Arrested for Trespass Near ME Pipe Claim “Intimidation”). This isn’t their first pipeline trespassing offense and arrest. The couple said the December arrest was “harassment” and “intimidation.” A Chester County judge didn’t buy that line of reasoning and yesterday convicted them, ordering the couple to pay a fine plus court costs.
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The Positive Impacts of Mariner East Pipeline Across PA

Seems like all we see in mainstream media are articles bashing Energy Transfer’s Mariner East (ME) NGL pipeline projects. Most of the negative press comes from southeastern PA where the pipeline has hit snags in building through Philadelphia suburbs. Imagine our surprise in seeing a guest editorial in a southwestern PA newspaper supporting the ME project, a column that details just how this massive project has benefitted the Keystone State in numerous ways–all across the state.
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PA Landowner Awarded Piddly for Legal Fees in Fighting ME Pipe

Huntington County, PA landowners Stephen and Ellen Gerhart have opposed the Mariner East pipeline project across their land from day one. They (and their daughter) have a long history of activism against the project. The Gerharts sued the builder, Sunoco Logistics Partners, in a bid to first block the pipeline, and later “restore” their property after it was built. In the end the Gerharts won a single, tiny concession–forcing Sunoco to recreate a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) on their property–all of 0.066 acres (meaning less than 1/10th of an acre–about the size of a big mud puddle). The Gerharts legal bills over the past several years have added up to $266,000. The attorneys asked the PA Environmental Hearing Board, a special court that hears appeals of DEP decisions, to make Sunoco and the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) pay the bill. How much did they get?
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PA DEP Clears Way for ET to Complete Mariner East Pipelines

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) recent settlement with Energy Transfer (ET) concerning the Revolution Pipeline explosion in southwestern PA also has significant impact on southeastern PA. How? The signed consent order in which ET pays the state $30.6 million lifts a moratorium on granting new permits to ET for *any* of its pipeline projects in PA for the past one year–including permits to complete the Mariner East (ME) projects. With the consent order comes a lifting of that permit moratorium, meaning the final bits of ME can now be completed.
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