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Construction of Mariner East 2 in West Cornwall Township, Lebanon County.

Mariner East 2: A pipeline project plagued by mishaps and delays

Background

Sunoco Logistics Mariner East pipeline project, originally known as the Pennsylvania pipeline project, includes three lines — the Mariner East 1, the Mariner East 2, and the Mariner East 2X, all of which carry or will carry natural gas liquids from the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania across the state to a processing and export terminal in Marcus Hook, Delaware County.

In 2014, Sunoco completed its conversion of a gasoline pipeline originally built in the 1930’s to ship gas from Philadelphia area refineries to rural Pennsylvania. Reversing the flow of the 8-inch line, Sunoco’s Mariner East 1 now carries NGL’s across Pennsylvania to its suburban Philadelphia facility where it is shipped overseas to manufacture plastics.

The Mariner East 2 would expand capacity to 345,000 barrels of NGL’s a day. The 20-inch diameter high pressure pipeline tunnels beneath 17 counties, cuts through 2,700 properties with a 50-foot right-of-way, and crosses more than 1,200 streams or wetlands. The company used eminent domain procedings to secure right-of-ways from reluctant landowners, including one family in Huntingdon County that continues to sit in trees to protest the pipeline construction. Dozens of landowners are still tied up in litigation with the company and the state Supreme Court could decide to hear the cases.

Construction on the $2.5 billion project began in February 2017, after the Department of Environmental Protection identified hundreds of deficiencies in its water-crossing and earth-moving permits. Since then the DEP has issued more than 30 violations to the company for polluting wetlands, waterways, and destroying about a dozen private water wells. In the summer of 2017, DEP, along with several environmental groups, agreed to a consent decree with Sunoco after dozens of drilling mud spills led to the pollution of high value wetlands and trout streams, and the loss of drinking water for residents of a Chester County community.

In April, 2017 Sunoco Logistics merged with Energy Transfer Partners, the builder of the controversial Dakota Access line. Completion of the line is now about 18 months behind its original schedule. The Mariner East 2X is a 16-inch NGL line that will run parallel to the ME2.

Latest Posts

Chester County township adds to local challenges on Mariner East 2 siting

Chester County’s Uwchlan Township mounted the latest local challenge to Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline this week when its supervisors voted unanimously to enforce an ordinance that requires any hazardous liquids pipeline to be set back from buildings further than the distance currently under construction. The three-person board, elected last November on a platform of [...]

Sunoco can resume Mariner East 2 drilling at Chester County site, DEP says

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday that Sunoco can restart drilling for the Mariner East 2 pipeline at a Chester County site where some private well owners experienced cloudy water last summer. DEP issued a statement saying Sunoco had met requirements to resume horizontal directional drilling at the Shoen Road site, where officials halted [...]

What will Sunoco’s $12.6 million Mariner East 2 penalty be spent on?

The $12.6 million penalty being paid by Sunoco for multiple violations during construction of the Mariner East 2 pipelines will be used to improve water quality and the safety of dams across Pennsylvania, and will be in addition to the company’s work to correct environmental damage caused during the project, current and former state officials said. [...]

Mariner East 2 critics don’t trust DEP, Sunoco agreement to improve company’s record

Pennsylvania’s decision on Thursday to allow Sunoco to resume construction on the Mariner East 2 pipeline after a month-long shutdown failed to convince critics that the company will do so with any more respect for environmental regulations than they say it has had since starting the project a year ago. Despite the Department of Environmental [...]

Sunoco to resume work, pay $12.6 million for Mariner East 2 pipeline violations

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is issuing a $12.6 million civil penalty against Sunoco Pipeline, LLP  for permit violations related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. DEP suspended construction on the pipeline January 3 and directed the company to explain how it planned to prevent drilling mud spills – known as “inadvertent [...]

Sunoco appeals DEP’s stop work order

Sunoco is appealing the Department of Environmental Protection’s January 3 order to halt construction on the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline. Sunoco filed the appeal with the Environmental Hearing Board on February 2, calling the DEP’s order “arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, vague, an abuse of discretion, improper, not supported by substantial or accurate evidence, [...]

Feds cite Sunoco for Mariner East 2 violation during construction in Ohio

A section of the controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline showed scrapes and a gouge in its coating during construction in Ohio last year, federal regulators said, in a recent statement that has fueled activists’ concern about the safety of the line. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a “Notice of Probable Violation” to [...]

Delaware County Council looks into risk assessment of Mariner East 2 pipeline

Delaware County Council is considering a risk assessment of the Mariner East natural gas liquids pipelines near homes, schools and businesses. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the council heard comments from more than two dozen residents concerned by the lack of a study establishing the worse case scenario in case of a pipeline accident and how [...]

Podcast on Mariner East 2 shutdown: What we know, and what might be next

StateImpact reporter Susan Phillips recently joined WITF state capitol reporter Katie Meyer on her State House Sound Bites podcast to discuss the Mariner East 2 shutdown and what might happen next. The conversation included Meyer asking Phillips how significant a delay the work stoppage could be for Sunoco, which has said it intends to meet [...]

Despite DEP order to halt Mariner East 2 construction, some work is still allowed

When Danielle Otten woke up Monday morning, she didn’t expect to see men working on the Mariner East 2 pipeline construction site that sits about 40 feet from her backyard, along Devon Drive in Uwchlan Township, Chester County. For one thing, work in the area had stalled after drilling dried up and damaged nearby water [...]

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