Sham “Risk Assessment” of ME2 Pipeline Released by Philly Antis

MDN told you in July that Philadelphia antis were paying $50,000 to a “consultant” to produce a faux report that will say the Mariner East 2 (ME2) natural gas liquids pipeline is dangerous, a nightmare waiting to happen (see Philly Antis Commission Faux “Risk Study” Targeting ME2 Pipeline). Sure enough, Quest Consultants–a company that sells itself to the highest Big Green bidder–has released their “report,” and it says exactly what Big Green told them to say.
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Energy Transfer Partners & Equity Merging into One Company Today

Energy Transfer is, on paper, several different companies. Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) is the mother ship–the main holding company. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) is and has been (for us) the main company, builder of Rover Pipeline, among other projects. Nearly two years ago Sunoco Logistics Partners, a subsidiary of ETE, was merged into ETP (see ETE Merging Sunoco Logistics and Energy Transfer Partners). Sunoco, aka ETP, is building the Mariner East 2 NGL pipeline project. Although technically ETP is the builder, we still call the company doing the work Sunoco, because that’s what everyone else does. Confusing! Hopefully that confusion ends today. ETE announced yesterday that following a vote of unitholders (i.e. shareholders), as of today ETE and ETP are merged, and the new name is simply, Energy Transfer.
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The Winners of the PA DEP $12.6 Million ME2 Hunger Games Are…

Que the music with dramatic drums, cymbals and trumpets. Camera A, zoom in on Secretary McDonnell. The whole state is watching. It’s time for the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to announce the winners of PA’s Hunger Games-style contest to grab a piece of the $12.6 million “fine” paid by Sunoco Logistics Partners for “permit violations related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project” (see Sunoco LP Pays PA DEP $12.6M to Resume ME2 Pipeline Construction).
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Mariner East 2 Pipe Startup Delayed Due to “Regulatory Issues”

ME2 Pipeline (red dotted line) – click for larger version

Energy Transfer Partners and their Sunoco Logistics unit had previously predicted the Mariner East 2 NGL (natural gas liquids) pipeline would be up and running no later than Sept. 30. That date came and went, and the pipeline is still not ready. According the ET, the reason is due to “regulatory issues.” Meaning, what exactly? We have a list of the “issues” holding up ME2 from launching.
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Empty Victory for Antis: PA PUC Blocks ME2 Valve Stn in W Goshen

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) blocked Sunoco Logistics Partners from building a valve station for the Mariner East 2 (ME2) project in West Goshen Township, Chester County where it wanted to build it. The PUC voted to accept a “Recommended Decision” issued by Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes that blocks construction of the valve station. Barnes has a history of ruling against ME2 going all the way back to 2014. Fortunately, most of her rulings have been overturned by the PUC. In this case it was not. But in the end, it doesn’t matter, because Sunoco said last December they’ve changed their plans and won’t build the valve station in West Goshen at all (see PA PUC Votes to Let ME2 Pipe Restart Construction in West Goshen). As a way of attempting to block the pipeline through their community, West Goshen objected to Sunoco building a new valve station for ME2 across the street from a valve station for Mariner East 1. West Goshen wanted the valve station built next to the existing ME1 valve station, but Sunoco wanted to build the new station across the street, citing safety concerns. West Goshen appealed to the state Public Utility Commission (PUC). In July 2017, Judge Barnes agreed with West Goshen (no surprise there), stopping not only construction of the valve station, but also construction of the ME2 pipeline itself through the township. The portion of the decision blocking pipeline construction was overturned. In December 2017, Sunoco gave up the fight to build the West Goshen valve station, period. Of course the antis who run West Goshen like a private fiefdom still objected! They said Sunoco hasn’t said what the alternative to building the valve station (a safety feature) would be. Hey, West Goshen’s “leaders” were the ones who didn’t want the valve station in the first place. West Goshen’s “leaders” are the ones who have made the pipeline through their community “less safe” because they didn’t want the valve station. Now they get to live with their actions. So reading that the PUC has, nine months later, ratified Barnes’ decision to block the valve station is somewhat strange. There’s no “there” there anymore. Sunoco dropped the valve station plan long ago. We hope West Goshen antis enjoy their empty victory…
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Philly RINO Wants “Risk Assessment” of ME2, Now That It’s Built

RINO (Republican In Name Only) Pennsylvania House of Representatives member Chris Quinn, from the Philadelphia area, introduced House Resolution 1034 last Wednesday. The resolution instructs the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) to prepare a “comprehensive risk assessment of the Mariner East 2 [ME2] Pipeline.” Even though ME2 is 99% built and will soon go online. The resolution, which if passed doesn’t have any practical effect since it’s not a law, is actually an exercise in political derrière covering. What if the DEP and PUC performed such a risk assessment, and what if the report they issued found there are some risks associated with ME2 (as there are will any/all pipeline projects, roads, electric lines, stepping outside your door, etc.)? What then? The pipeline isn’t going away. It’s still going to be used, now that it’s built. Such is how the game is played by political swamp dwellers. Quinn also says he’s about to introduce House Bill (HB) 2609 requiring the state Attorney General to draft a landowner “bill of rights”–issued to landowners who may be subject to eminent domain for pipelines. Can’t wait to see what that bill says…
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PA Supreme Court Victory for ME2 Pipeline re Two Zoning Cases

Two different townships in the Philadelphia area, amped-up by and using money from Big Green groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper (aka Maya van Rossum), tried to stop Sunoco Logistics Partners’ Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project by claiming it violated local zoning ordinances. The construction of ME2 is governed by the PA state Public Utility Commission and the state Dept. of Environmental Protection. It is not a federal (i.e. FERC) project. Because it is a state-oversight project, the issue of primacy (whose rules and regulations govern) resides at the state level and not at the local level. Two local townships–one in Chester County the other in Delware County–argued in separate cases before PA Commonwealth Court that local zoning regulations for siting the pipeline should still apply. Commonwealth Court, in a pair of decisions earlier this year, ruled against that view (see PA Town Loses Appeal to Block ME2 Pipe with Local Zoning Ordinance and PA Appeals Court Rules ME2 Pipe NOT Under Local Zoning). Using Big Green money, both towns appealed their cases to the PA Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the Supremes declined to hear either case, meaning the Commonwealth Court ruling stands and this issue is now, finally, done. Antis’ attempts to stop the ME2 project by using local zoning ordinances is a closed door…
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PA DEP Gives ME2 Pipe OK to Restart Construction Near Philly

Work on the Mariner East 2 and 2x pipelines in West Whiteland Township, Chester County (near Philadelphia) stopped in May following a Public Utility Commission (PUC) administrative law judge’s highly questionable ruling (see Antis Get Lib Judge to Shut Down All Mariner East Pipes, Dems Rejoice). The PUC overruled the judge in early August, allowing most work to restart in West Whiteland–in all but four locations (see PA PUC Allows ME2 Pipeline Work to Restart Near Philly). The remaining four locations involve underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) work that has led to sinkholes. Yesterday the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection announced they have reviewed two of the four remaining locations and say revised plans submitted by Sunoco Logistics Partners (the builder) look good to them. That is, Sunoco can restart construction in those two locations as soon as the PUC gives them the go-ahead. The DEP is now reviewing the final two locations. Seems as if we’re fighting for every single inch to finish this project…
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Sunoco Fined $148K for ME2 Drilling that Fouled PA Water Wells

At various points over the past year or so, Sunoco Logistics, in using underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project, has negatively affected some private water wells. A dozen private wells were affected by ME2 work in West Whiteland Township, in Chester County, last summer (see Sunoco LP’s Generous Deal to Chester Co. Residents with Water Issues). Sunoco made the situation right in West Whiteland, paying to extend a local municipal water line to the affected homes. But West Whiteland wasn’t the only location. There were others, in Berks County and Lebanon County. To the best of our knowledge, all of the water well issues have been corrected. But as always happens with these incidents, companies like Sunoco must pay twice. They pay (handsomely) to fix the issue–as they should. But then they pay a fine to the state. The fine for fouling water wells in three counties related to ME2 work was handed down yesterday by the Dept. of Environmental Protection. Sunoco has to pay $148,000 for violating PA’s Clean Streams Law and Dam Safety and Encroachment Act…
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Mariner East 2 Pipeline 99% Done, Online in ~2 Months

With all of the negative news stories from mainstream media in Pennsylvania regarding the Mariner East 2 (ME2) Pipeline project, and the seemingly endless challenges by Philadelphia politicians in bed with Big Green groups to try and block the project, here’s a couple of facts to warm your heart, and give antis heartburn: (1) ME2 is now 99% done; (2) ME2 will most likely go online in the next two months–by the end of 3Q18. There will still be a few small areas where ME2 proper is not online in two months–locations near Philadelphia where there have been sinkhole problems. But Sunoco Logistics Partners (aka Energy Transfer), the builder, has a workaround–repurposing an out-of-service pipeline for a few months…
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Mariner East 2 Pipeline Protester Sentenced 2-6 Months in Jail

Huntingdon County, PA landowner Ellen Gerhart, adamantly opposed to the Mariner East 2 pipeline being constructed across her land, had her day in court on Friday. Gerhart, as we recently reported, was accused of violating a 2017 court order preventing her from interfering with ME2 construction on her property. It was alleged that she continued to do so anyway, against a judge’s order, and on Friday, July 27 she was arrested and jailed (see Central PA Landowner Arrested, Jailed for Violating ME2 Court Order). A week later, on Friday, Aug. 3, Gerhart stood before the judge as evidence was presented (videos and testimony from pipeline workers) that showed Gerhart had indeed violated the order. So the judge sentenced her from two to six months in prison, plus a $2,000 fine. Which is sad, but necessary. We (still, so far) live in a society where flagrant violation of the law is punished. The judge said she caused a hazard for pipeline workers…
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PA PUC Allows ME2 Pipeline Work to Restart Near Philly

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) yesterday voted 3-2 to allow construction to resume on the Mariner East 2 and 2x pipelines in West Whiteland Township, Chester County (near Philadelphia), ending a weeks-long stoppage specific only to that area. The shutdown began in May after a PUC administrative law judge’s highly questionable ruling, which affected ME1, ME2 and ME2x (see Antis Get Lib Judge to Shut Down All Mariner East Pipes, Dems Rejoice). After an initial three-week shutdown, the PUC voted in June to approve the restart of ME1 (see PA PUC Overrules Lib Judge – Mariner East 1 Returns to Service). It was the second time in a little more than a month that the PUC voted to restart the line after finding it poses no risk. Work in West Whiteland Township for ME2 has been paused since the administrative law judge’s May ruling. With the PUC’s action yesterday, Sunoco can resume work on the project in Chester County. Although they can’t resume work on all of it. The vote yesterday does not lift the construction ban on four locations in West Whiteland waiting for new/revised permits from the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). Still, this is a big positive, and a major blow to antis who are not happy…
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ME2 Landowner/Protester Admits to Some of Her Crimes, $25K Bail

Yesterday we told you that a Pennsylvania landowner from Huntingdon County, PA, Ellen Gerhart, was arrested on Friday for violating a court order to not interfere with Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline work being done on her property (see Central PA Landowner Arrested, Jailed for Violating ME2 Court Order). Although Gerhart is due for a hearing before a judge on Friday, there was a preliminary hearing yesterday. Gerhart “attended” by video conference because she’s being held in a neighboring county jail (Huntingdon doesn’t have facilities to house female prisoners). Under questioning, Gerhart admitted her actions were intended “to annoy and harass” ME2 workers by her actions. What were those actions? She admitted placing meat close to the construction site in order to attract bears. She also admitted setting small fires in bottles/cans, hinting to workers that they might explode (like a Molotov cocktail). She remains in jail, for now. Yesterday the judge set bail at $25,000…
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Enviro Groups Back Down on Challenging DEP Permits for ME2 Pipe

An interesting development on Friday, when the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a press release to announced that three radical environmental groups have dropped their objections to permits the DEP previously granted for the Mariner East 2 Pipeline. Clean Air Council, Mountain Watershed Association, and THE Delaware Riverkeeper “settled” their appeal of 20 permits issued to Sunoco for the ME2 project. What does it mean that they “settled?” According to the announcement, “The settlement does not alter any of the 20 permits in the appeal.” In other words, this is face-saving by the radical groups. They backed down. Gave up. Threw in the towel–recognizing that ME2 is about to be completed. In other words, they’ve lost. And we won! We love saying that. No matter how hard the radicals tried to spin the news (via their affiliated mouthpieces, like StateImpact Pennsylvania), you simply can’t gloss over the fact that they’ve backed down…
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Central PA Landowner Arrested, Jailed for Violating ME2 Court Order

For the past two years the Gerhart family has used illegal protest tactics to stall tree cutting on their property in Huntingdon County, PA, to block construction of the Mariner East 2 (ME2) Pipeline. Out-of-state Big Green radicals, along with the Gearharts’ own daughter, lived on-and-off in the tops of three white pine trees, building magic tree houses so they can lay around and pretend they’re saving the planet. The tree occupation prevented Sunoco Logistics Partners from cutting the trees, which are in the path of the ME2 project. Then, at daybreak on Sunday, April 8th, after observing the protesters had left the night before scared of impending high winds, Sunoco snuck in and cut down the trees, much to the consternation of the Gerharts who called it a “underhanded and cowardly attack.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called it a “predawn timbering raid” (see ME2 Pipeline Cuts Down PA Trees Vacated by Protesters). Funny! We mention all that as background because the mama Gerhart has landed herself in jail. Sunoco said that Ellen Gerhart violated a standing court order to not interfere with work happening on her land for the pipeline. So police arrested and jailed her last Friday, without bond, until a hearing date on Aug. 3 (a week later). What did Mrs. Gerhart do to end up in the slammer?…
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Speaker Didn’t Tell Middletown Pipe Antis What They Wanted to Hear

Anti fossil fuel radicals continue to try and stir up opposition to the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project near Philadelphia. Local supervisors in Middletown (Delaware County, PA) walk a tightrope between a desire to protect area residents and anti groups fomenting irrational fears. The Board of Supervisors hired a consultant to advise them on potential safety issues with ME1 & 2. Monday night the supervisors held a public meeting to allow residents to hear from and ask questions of the consultant. The consultant, to his credit, maintained his objectivity. He’s not for or against pipelines–he’s looking at safety issues and discussing realistic scenarios. His responses to some of the questions were not what antis in the crowd wanted to hear. They wanted him to feed their fear-mongering (and false) beliefs. The consultant refused to do so. We found one bit of news from the session highly instructive. There is an anti group calling itself Middletown Coalition for Public Safety. The group presents itself as a “nonpartisan grassroots group of parents and residents whose goal is to educate elected officials and the public regarding the risks associated with the proposed Mariner East 2 pipeline.” It is the exact opposite. Rabidly partisan (Democrat). And not composed of residents. The people who belong to the group, at least its leaders, aren’t from Middletown! At the Monday meeting one of their members, Eric Friedman, was not allowed to question the consultant because he doesn’t live in Middletown. What does that tell you about how these “grassroots” groups are operated and funded?…
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