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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Another Small Mariner East Pipe Sinkhole Develops Near Philly

Sinkhole develops near soccer field (Credit: Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety)

Another sinkhole developed last Friday near Philadelphia related to underground drilling done to install the Mariner East 2 pipeline. The new sinkhole developed in Middletown Township (Delaware County), in Sleighton Park. Fortunately this latest hole was only about 18 inches in diameter, which is much better than a 15×15 foot hole that developed in September, also in Middletown Township (see Another Mariner East 2 Pipe Sinkhole Opens in Delaware County). However, the 18-inch hole fanned out to four feet wide and 30 feet deep underground. Sunoco immediately filled it with “flowable fill” (i.e. concrete)–to the tune of 48 yards of material.
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Philly Pipe Protesters Go to Harrisburg, Picket Gov’s Empty Office

Credit: WITF Harrisburg (click for larger version)

A small group of southeast Pennsylvania pipeline protesters drove themselves to Harrisburg on Wednesday (using fossil fuels to get there) to demand Gov. Tom Wolf put a halt to construction of the legally-permitted Mariner East 2 pipeline, and essentially shut down the operation of the entire Mariner East network (ME1, ME2 and ME2X). Gov. Wolf wasn’t even in his office, so they were picketing and protesting for nothing. Oh well, the wackos get an “A” for effort, right?
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PA DEP Still Blocking Some Permits to Restart ME2 Pipe Work

Sunoco Logistics Partners, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer, is still on the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environment Protection’s (DEP) naughty list. In February, PA Gov. Tom Wolf ordered the DEP to suspend all reviews of clean water permit applications and other pending approvals for ALL of ET/Sunoco’s pipeline projects in the state–including the Mariner East and Revolution pipeline projects. The ban on approving reviews has not yet been lifted and means that in 33 locations across the state (most of them in the Philadelphia area) Sunoco can’t complete underground horizontal direction drilling (HDD) work for its Mariner East pipeline projects.
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Chester County DA Fails to Find ME Pipe Crimes, Files Civil Case

Chester County, PA District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan famously announced to the world last December he would investigate Sunoco Logisitcs and their Mariner East (ME) pipeline projects for “crimes” (see Chester County DA Goes Rogue, Targets ME2 Pipe w/Criminal Probe). After months of investigation, using added fire power (see Chester County DA Gets “Free” Help with ME2 Pipe Criminal Probe), Hogan has come up with…NOTHING. He’s a loser. So to save face, the rogue DA and the guy who is trying to succeed him next (Michael Noone, also a loser) have filed a civil (non-criminal) case against ME for…wait for it…being a “public nuisance.” That’s what happens when a neighbor calls to complain someone is playing music too loud and won’t turn it down. Tell us again Tom & Mike, how “dangerous” that ME project really is.
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East Goshen Denies Sunoco Request to Work on ME2 Pipe 24/7

The town of East Goshen, in Chester County, PA (near Philadelphia) has a noise ordinance in place from 10 pm to 7 am. Sunoco Logisitics, working on installing a section of the Mariner East 2 pipeline through the township, requested an exemption to allow them to work all night long. Their argument is that once you start pulling pipe through the hole you’ve just drilled, you can’t just stop. Last week the town supervisors voted against granting the exception. Shhh, quiet after 10.
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Another Mariner East 2 Pipe Sinkhole Opens in Delaware County

Credit: PA Environment Digest Blog (click for larger version)

Once again drilling work to install Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 Pipeline in Middlefield Township in Delaware County, PA (near Philadelphia) has resulted in a sinkhole. This one is about the size of a 15×15 swimming pool. Sunoco reports the hole exposed a 12-inch pipeline flowing NGLs (no holes, no leaks in the pipeline). The company immediately filled in the sinkhole and covered over the NGL pipeline.
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Work at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook Causes Range to Tweak NGL Forecast

Sunoco is performing “optimization work” at the Marcus Hook export terminal this month. Marcus Hook is where two (soon to be three) Mariner East Pipelines terminate, hauling NGLs (propane, ethane, butane) from western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio all the way to the Philadelphia area. At Marcus Hook the NGLs get separated and most (not all, but most) get loaded onto ships for export to other countries. Sunoco needs to upgrade a few things to export even more. They’re shutting down Marcus Hook this month, and that’s a (temporary) problem for the main shipper sending NGLs to the facility–Range Resources.
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Philly Dem Senator Loses Bid to Shut Down ME Pipelines

PA State Senator Andy Dinniman

In April 2018, a Chester County, PA (Philadelphia area) Democrat State Senator by the name of Andy Dinniman (who we think looks like Tony Soprano) filed a formal, legal complaint with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), asking the PUC to shut down and keep closed all of the Mariner East pipeline projects–ME1, ME2, and ME2X (see Philly Dem Senator Tries to Shut Down ME2 Pipe Construction). It took long enough, but the PA Commonwealth Court, whom Sunoco appealed to, ruled yesterday that Dinniman’s complaint is meritless. The court ordered the PUC to dismiss Dinniman’s complaint.
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PA DEP Changes Sides, Says Marcus Hook Should Get 1 Big Air Permit

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), which once supported (in court) Sunoco Logistics Partners method of requesting permits for the Marcus Hook facility (near Philadelphia), has just flip flopped and change sides, now siding against Sunoco and the permits the DEP itself issued for the Marcus Hook facility. DEP is now siding with the radical Clean Air Council demanding that all of the work at the Marcus Hook facility be done under a single emissions permit, not separate permits.
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Mariner East Pipe Witch Hunt Continues; PA DEP Defends Employees

In the American legal system those accused of wrongdoing, including those afraid of being entrapped by so-called law enforcement (like the Chester County, PA District Attorney Tom Hogan) are entitled to legal representation–to protect themselves from the abuses of people like DA Hogan. Yet when they do so, avail themselves of legal representation, Hogan gets bent out of shape. Could it be he *has no case* and wants to bully people into admitting to things they are not guilty of? Or force them to falsely testify to things the prosecutor wants to hear?
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Another $319K in Fines Levied on Mariner East 2 Pipeline in PA

Sunoco Pipeline, a division/part of Energy Transfer, has just been fined (again) for work related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. This time around Sunoco got two fines: One for problems with their work in 2018, to the tune of $240,840, and one for work done back in 2017, to the tune of $78,621. Total bill: $319,461. So far the Mariner East project (ME1, ME2, and ME2X) has incurred over $13 million in fines with over 80 violations.
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PA PUC Extends “Safety Review” for Liquids Pipes Extra 2 Weeks

Pennsylvania antis from the Philadelphia area who don’t want pipelines running through their neighborhoods (NIMBY types) beat the drums of war so loud and for so long, they finally began to intimidate the non-partisan, shouldn’t-be-intimated PA Public Utility Commission (PUC). In June the PUC launched a “major review of its safety regulations for hazardous liquids pipelines” in response to pressure from Mariner East 2 pipeline foes (see PA PUC Launches “Safety Review” for Liquids Pipes – Antis Rejoice). The deadline for public comments was Aug. 28, but in response to yet more pressure from antis, the PUC extended the deadline another two weeks. It’s sad to see a government body cowed by a few loudmouthed troublemakers.
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Yet Another Defeat for ME2 Pipeline Antis in PA Court

click for larger version

The wheels of justice sometimes grind sloooooowly–but they do grind and eventually decisions are made. In 2017, rich, snobbish homeowners in an “upscale” Philadelphia suburb development asked a Pennsylvania appeals court (Commonwealth Court) to stop Sunoco Logistics from building the Mariner East 2 pipeline through the edge of their high-priced development (see Rich Homeowners in Philly Suburb Claim ME2 Work Stirring up Arsenic).
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Deep Dive into Future of Mariner East Pipes & Marcus Hook Terminal

The Mariner East pipeline projects (plural) are an important part of the shale energy story in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. As is the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex (what we call the Marcus Hook refinery). Currently between Mariner East 1 and 2, somewhere around 170,000 barrels of NGLs (mostly ethane and propane) flow to Marcus Hook and most of that gets exported to other countries. Mariner East 2X is currently under construction and due to come online next year, increasing that number significantly. For many Marcellus/Utica drillers, selling NGLs is the difference between being profitable and not profitable.
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PA Gov. Wolf Meets Mariner East Antis F2F, Won’t Shut Down Pipes

To his credit (we don’t often heap praise on him), Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf toured a Mariner East 2 pipeline construction site in Chester County near Philadelphia last Thursday, along with some Democrat politicians, and told anti-pipeline residents “NO” to their faces when they asked him to shut down the Mariner East pipeline system. He was polite, but firm, telling them he disagrees with their position of the need to permanently shut down the Mariner pipelines. “Do a better job” with construction and impacts from the project? Sure, according to Wolf. Shut it all down permanently? NO.
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