Sunoco given OK to build pipeline across Pennsylvania

306-mile line to traverse southern Berks County

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The company planning to build a 306-mile pipeline to move propane and other natural gas liquids across southern Pennsylvania said it can begin construction.

Sunoco Logistics received permit approvals for the $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 pipeline from the Department of Environmental Protection on Monday.

"I am proud of the immense undertaking our staff took to hold this project accountable within the confines of state law and DEP's role in this process over the last few years," said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. "This was a huge undertaking – holding five hearings during a 60-day comment period, reviewing permit applications and technical deficiencies for more than 20,000 hours, responding to 29,000 comments, and ensuring Sunoco addressed deficiencies identified in its initial applications."

Sunoco Logistics said it will use 75,000 tons of steel to build the 275,000 barrel-per-day pipeline 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.

The company, 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 will largely follow the same path.

A Sunoco spokesman said propane can be used for heating and as a petrochemical feedstock. It expects to supply local, regional and international markets.

Environmental groups are trying to halt the pipeline construction, arguing that it would cause massive and irreparable harm to the state's environment and residents.

"The intensive review included input and feedback from scores of DEP biologists, wetland ecologists, engineers, legal staff, and permit reviewers. Further conditions were put on the operator as we move forward to ensure accountability to state standards," " McDonnell explained. "This is not the end of the process, as DEP, working in conjunction with the Public Utility Commission, will continue to hold the project accountable to regulatory standards that protect the environment and ensure the health, public safety, and welfare of local communities."

The Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Mountain Watershed Association have appealed the decision to a state environmental hearing board.

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