Pennsylvania Halts Construction of Mariner East 2 Pipeline

from Unicorn Riot

Harrisburg, PA – On January 3, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued an Administrative Order halting all construction of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline. The natural gas liquids pipeline is being constructed by Sunoco Logistics, who in 2017 completed their corporate merger with Energy Transfer Partners. The pipeline begins at fracking fields in Scio, Ohio and crosses southern Pennsylvania to reach its terminus at refineries in Marcus Hook near Philadelphia, where the natural gas liquids will be exported by ship for use in the European plastics industry.

The decision by the DEP, which has historically sided overwhelmingly with oil and gas interests, comes after over 100 spills of drilling slurry have plagued construction along the pipeline route. Bentonite clay leaked from Mariner East 2 drill sites has damaged numerous streams and natural areas and tainted drinking water in private homes and public schools.

Horizontal directional drilling by Sunoco has also led to the “development of an expanding sinkhole that currently threatens at least two private homes and is within 100 feet of Amtrak’s Keystone Line”, according to PA State Senator Andy Dinniman.  

State regulators cited a long series of “egregious and willful violations” committed by the pipeline operator while constructing Mariner East 2. The DEP website’s Compliance and Enforcement section for Mariner East 2 shows 33 Notices of Violation sent between May 9, 2017 and January 8, 2018 regarding drilling incidents in over 12 counties.

The order from the Pennsylvania DEP essentially freezes all construction along the pipeline route, with specific exceptions allowing anti-erosion measures at pipeline dig sites as well as maintenance of horizontal directional drill (HDD) equipment.

Last summer, Unicorn Riot visited Camp White Pine, a direct action encampment using tree-sits and other tactics to obstruct the pipeline route. After they were served with notice, Sunoco had seized a portion of their forest land under eminent domain, Ellen Gerhart and her daughter Elise decided to invite supporters to live on the easement and have erected several complex aerial blockades.

read the rest of the article on Unicorn Riot…

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