HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today affirmed, in part, and reversed, in part, an Interim Emergency Order issued in May 2018, related to operation of Sunoco Pipeline L.P.’s (Sunoco) Mariner East 1 pipeline (ME1), and construction of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 (ME2) and Mariner East 2X (ME2X) pipelines.
The Commission voted 3-2 in support of a motion from Chairman Gladys M. Brown which addressed key issues related to a Petition for Interim Emergency Relief concerning pipeline operations and construction activities in West Whiteland Township, Chester County.
Today’s action by the Commission continues an injunction against construction of ME2 and ME2X in West Whiteland Township until lifted by the PUC, while authorizing the resumption of operations on the ME1 pipeline.
As noted by Chairman Brown in today’s motion, “While there is insufficient evidence to support a finding that ME1 is being operated unsafely in West Whiteland Township, I do find that there is sufficient evidence to support a finding that the construction on ME2 and ME2X should remain halted until Sunoco meets the requirements that will be imposed by this motion.”
In a joint statement, Commissioners John F. Coleman Jr. and Norman J. Kennard underscored their support for the decision to resume operations on ME1, but dissented on the continued suspension of construction on ME2 and ME2X, stressing the PUC’s active and ongoing pipeline safety work related to the Mariner project.
“To date, the Commission’s pipeline safety experts have not reported any safety issues that warrant halting construction of ME2 and ME2X. However, as our experience with ME1 shows, we have full confidence that our Pipeline Safety Division will take necessary steps to protect the public if a safety issue arises with the project.”
Pursuant to the Motion approved today, Sunoco will have 20 days to file the following information for Commission review:
Inspection and testing protocols.
Its comprehensive emergency response plan.
Current safety training curriculum for employees and contractors.
Sunoco must also file a verification or affidavit that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued the appropriate permission for continued construction of ME2 and ME2X in West Whiteland Township.
The Commission will review the information and make a determination at an upcoming public meeting on whether Sunoco may resume construction on ME2 and ME2X.
Additionally, the Commission directed that the formal complaint filed by Pennsylvania state Senator Andrew E. Dinniman against Sunoco (Docket C-2018-3001451) be returned to the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge for appropriate proceedings.
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