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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PA Judge Fines Mariner East Pipe $1K for Scaring Homeowner

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes has tried to stop or block or otherwise do damage to the Mariner East pipeline projects for years. Most (all?) of her actions against the project have, in the past, been reversed by a vote of PUC Commissioners (see PA PUC Overrules Lib Judge – Mariner East 1 Returns to Service and PA PUC Allows ME2 Pipeline Work to Restart Near Philly). Will PUC members also overturn Barnes’ latest overreach in fining the Mariner East 1 pipeline $1,000, to be given to a nearby homeowner who doesn’t feel “safe” living 1,000 feet from a pipeline that’s been there all of his life?
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SEPA DA Charges Off-Duty Police w/Crime for Providing Pipe Security

Tom Hogan, Chester County’s “buy a DA”

In what has to be the outrage of the century, Chester County, PA District Attorney Tom Hogan, drunk on his own power, has falsely charged both Energy Transfer (Sunoco Logistics Partners) and several PA constables (essentially off duty police officers) with bribery and conspiracy because the off-duty officers had the gall to moonlight as security to protect Mariner East pipeline workers from anti-fossil fuel crazies and wackos.
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2nd Class Action Lawsuit Against ET/Sunoco re Mariner East Pipe

Last week MDN told you about a law firm fishing for Energy Transfer shareholders to join its class action lawsuit against the company over rumors of corruption in obtaining permits to build the Mariner East 2 pipeline project (see Shareholder Lawsuit Filed Against ET/Sunoco re Mariner East Pipe). A second law firm is now trying the same tactic–a second shareholder lawsuit based on unproven rumors.
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Time to Defend the Mariner East Pipe Projects – Garland Thompson

Speaking of the Mariner East (ME) pipelines and the NGLs (primarily ethane, but also propane and butane) they flow, why isn’t the organized business community (i.e. Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce) doing more to stick up for the ME pipeline projects? MDN friend Garland Thompson, a gifted reporter/writer who covers energy and technology issues for US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, recently penned an open letter to the Philly Chamber challenging them to get off their collective butts and defend ME and the jobs it will create in the greater Philly region.
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FBI Investigates Wolf Admin for Corruption re ME Pipe Permits

(Sacrificial) lamb roasting on a spit

Earlier this week the Associated Press, which sometimes can and sometimes can’t be trusted, broke an exclusive bombshell story in which they claim “sources” have told them the FBI has launched an investigation into the Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf administration over how permits came to be issued for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. The focus of the investigation is on whether Wolf and his administration “forced environmental protection staff to approve construction permits” and whether Wolf or his administration received anything in return for those permits. Favors. Corruption. Kickbacks. That’s what’s being implied by the leakers who, of course, spoke only on condition of anonymity.
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