Pa. government presses pause on permits for Mariner East 2 pipeline parent company

    Pipeline construction has become a flashpoint between state environmentalists and the natural gas industry. (Flickr)

    Pennsylvania’s state environmental protection agency is temporarily blocking permits from Energy Transfer Partners in response to numerous complaints about the company’s Mariner East 2 pipeline and an September explosion in Beaver County.

    “There has been a failure by Energy Transfer and its subsidiaries to respect our laws and our communities,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. “This is not how we strive to do business in Pennsylvania, and it will not be tolerated.”

    Currently, the state Department of Environmental Protection has at least 27 permits from the Mariner East 2 pipeline under review. Reviews will continue when the state feels Energy Transfer Partners complies with its demands around the newly built Revolution pipeline that exploded in late last year.

    In a statement, Energy Transfer Partners said that they “have communicated to the DEP and to the governor’s office that we are committed to bringing this project into full compliance with all environmental permits and applicable regulations. This action does not affect the operation of any of our in-service pipelines or any areas of construction where permits have already been issued. We look forward to continuing to work with the DEP throughout this process.”

    The Mariner East 2 pipeline was built to bring western Pennsylvania Marcellus shale gas to Marcus Hook in Delaware County for processing and export. But numerous problems, from sinkholes to water contamination to explosion worries, have turned it into a flash point for environmentalists, residents, and elected officials.

    David Hess, DEP secretary under former Gov. Mark Schweiker, said the act of blocking permits for a single company is unprecedented, as far as he can recollect.

    “If this doesn’t get the attention of the company that it isn’t handling its business the way it should be, I don’t know what will,” Hess said.

    Updated, 2 p.m.

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