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Sunoco received a halt construction order from Pennsylvania environmental officials on Wednesday for a natural gas pipeline the southern half of the state due to a myriad of spills and leaks that officials say amount to a violation of state law.
The $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 pipeline will not progress until the parent company complies with existing terms of a permit granted by Pennsylvania’s department of energy. The regulators say Sunoco has shown a “lack of ability or intention” to meet compliance with environmental laws for water bodies.
"Until Sunoco can demonstrate that the permit conditions can and will be followed, DEP has no alternative but to suspend the permits," DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement. "We are living up to our promise to hold this project accountable to the strong protections in the permits."
Sunoco declined to comment at the request of Fox Business.
Environmental groups are touting the halt order as a victory due to their initial opposition to the pipeline, which they say would deforest as much as 1,500 acres of streams, wetlands, and farmlands.
"Today's announcement is a step in the right direction, but the only responsible course of action for Governor Wolf is to stop the Mariner East 2 altogether," Sam Rubin of Food & Water Watch said. "This project, which was greenlighted with flawed permits, was never going to be safe for the people of Pennsylvania."
In late November of 2016, Sunoco Logistics Partners and Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) agreed to merge in a bid to lower borrowing and operating costs. ETP is a key player in the controversial Dakota Access pipeline that, like Mariner East, was also greenlighted by relevant authorities. Sunoco bought ETP in a $21 billion all-stock deal, while also assuming some $30 billion in long-term debt on ETP’s balance sheets.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…