DEP hands Sunoco 'historic' fine

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Completion was initially expected in the third quarter of 2017, but the DEP ordered the company to stop some work on the project in July following fluid spills from horizontal directional drilling activities.

Thursday's announcement allowing work to resume follows weeks of halted construction.

The Mariner East 2 pipeline is the second of three pipelines created to carry gas liquids from the shale region of Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia to a terminal that Sunoco has built on the site of its former Marcus Hook refinery.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) accused Sunoco Pipeline of "egregious and willful violations" of environmental rules in building the Mariner East 2 pipeline. On Jan. 3, DEP officials suspended construction permits issued for the project, citing violations of the state Clean Streams Law and Title 25 of the Pennsylvania Code.

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In announcing the action on Thursday, the state Department of Environmental Protection said the fine was one of the largest it has ever collected in a single settlement. The project has aroused strong opposition, particularly in densely developed areas of DE and Chester Counties, where Sunoco is building the second of three adjacent pipelines.

"DEP will be monitoring activities closely to ensure that Sunoco is meeting the terms of this agreement and its permits", DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, said in the release. One citation proposes $163,700 in fines for overdue inspections of pipelines connecting the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery complex to nearby fuel storage sites; a second citation proposes a $127,000 fine for untimely inspections of above-ground facilities at Boston Logan Airport.

The suspension will remain in place until Sunoco demonstrates compliance with the permits, Wolf's spokesman said Wednesday in a statement.

Feridun rejected McDonnell's statement that DEP had held Sunoco to the "highest standard possible" during its application for permits and subsequent construction.

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Mariner East II is the second phase of the Mariner East project created to move NGLs from the gas-producing regions of the southwest Appalachian Basin to Marcus Hook, for processing and potentially for export.

"DEP and Sunoco just cut this deal and nothing went before Judge Labuskes so we have no clue as to if this actually means Sunoco is going to change their way of business and start behaving", he said.

"DEP did not discover the numerous violations that Sunoco was guilty of". Supporters of the Sunoco project, such as the Marcellus Shale Coalition, responded to DEP's action with a call for "the safe and responsible construction of these important infrastructure projects".

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