DEP orders work to stop on Mariner East 2 pipeline project

306-mile line to traverse southern Berks County

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has suspended construction permits associated with Sunoco Pipeline's construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline.

The DEP on Wednesday ordered Sunoco to stop all construction activity on the project until the company meets the requirements outlined in its order, including addressing all impacts to private water wells in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County.

"Until Sunoco can demonstrate that the permit conditions can and will be followed, DEP has no alternative but to suspend the permits," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. "We are living up to our promise to hold this project accountable to the strong protections in the permits."

Sunoco Pipeline responded to the DEP's order with the following statement:

"The order requires us to submit various reports related to current and future construction activities. We intend to expeditiously submit these reports and we are confident that we will be reauthorized to commence work on this project promptly. We also reiterate our commitment to the highest levels of construction expertise and our dedication to preserving and protecting the environment in which we conduct our work."

Berks Gas Truth, an organization that has opposed construction of the 306-mile pipeline, welcomed the DEP's move.

"One of the violations that led to this decision occurred in Berks County, when Sunoco operated outside of its permit to do horizontal directional drilling (HDD) that led to a drilling mud spill in the Hay Creek watershed that the company then failed to report," said Kareint Feridun, Berks Gas Truth's founder. "It is demonstrative of the utter lack of regard Sunoco has for the health and safety of communities along the route and for the regulatory process."

The company's $2.5-billion pipeline will move propane and other natural gas liquids from southwestern Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale natural gas fields across 17 counties, including Berks, Lancaster Lebanon, and Chester, to its Marcus Hook processing and distribution facility in Delaware County, near Philadelphia.

Sunoco Pipeline, which has regional headquarters in Spring Township, said the pipeline will provide four times the capacity of its existing Mariner East 1 pipeline. Mariner East 2 is largely following the same path.

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