Mariner East II Pollution in Pennsylvania is Not Old News

April 17, 2019

Sunoco’s reckless pipeline operations continue to violate your rights, your safety, and your health.


According to State Impact, the DEP has issued over 80 notices of violation for the development of the Mariner East II pipeline and has fined Sunoco over $12.6 million for permit violations. However, that is not enough to remediate the damages or change Sunoco’s operations. Many of these violations pose serious risks to human health and the environment.


Attorney General Josh Shapiro is currently working with the District Attorneys of Delaware and Chester County to investigate Sunoco and its parent company, Energy Transfer Partners. However, the Attorney General has yet to bring charges against ETP.


Violations in Westmoreland County


Sunoco has been collecting violations for its negligent operations throughout the state. In Westmoreland County alone, Sunoco has 14 violations for dumping drilling fluids into local streams, lakes and other bodies of water. Most notably, Sunoco paid $556,000 in fines after repeatedly spilling at Loyalhanna Lake. Since then, Sunoco continues to dump drilling fluids in public streams and commit other such violations. These repeated violations show a complete disregard for the law and must be stopped.


Risks to Your Health and Safety


In October 2018, Del Chesco United for Pipeline Safety released the Final Quantitative Risk Assessment Of Sunoco’s Mariner East Pipeline Project. This assessment, conducted in Delaware and Chester Counties, found many risks to residents living along this pipeline project. The threshold for detection of a leak is above that which would cause an explosion. Even worse, the risk of explosion doubles in areas that have two pipelines in the same easement, which is the case with the Mariner East l and ll pipelines. Thus, residents near the pipelines are exposed to a serious risk of leaks and possible explosions. In Penn Township, Westmoreland County, this pipeline project is being built a few hundred feet from a gas well pad, further increasing risks for residents in that area. See Protect PT’s comment to the Penn Township Board of Commissioners here.


Recently, Sunoco reached a settlement with the Public Utility Commission for the 20 barrels of ethane and propane the Mariner East I pipeline leaked in 2017. Sunoco will pay $200,000 and agree to check the aging Mariner East I pipeline more regularly. Since the Mariner East I pipeline has a history of leaking, extra precautions should be taken to reduce the increased risk of leaks and explosion from having both the Mariner East I and II pipelines in the same easement.


Additionally, Sunoco’s Revolution pipeline exploded in Western PA shortly after it began to be used for shipments, according to The Inquirer. The explosion destroyed a house in Beaver County, State Impact reports. When the DEP investigated, they found Sunoco had failed to report landslides and erosion into nearby streams. In response, the DEP shut down that pipeline until Sunoco meets their conditions. This cannot undo the damage Sunoco has already done.  


Sunoco’s pipeline operations are not safe! While the DEP has halted new permits for the Mariner East II pipeline, Sunoco is still allowed to operate on permits that have already been issued. Sunoco’s operations must be halted completely to protect Pennsylvanians’ health from continued harm.


What You Can Do


You have a choice. You can choose to sit back and pretend these violations will not impact you and your loved ones. This may seem easier now, but it will only lead to more pain as pollution continues to build. Or, you can choose to take action now. Pressure public officials to take a stronger stance against these violators and demand the DEP fully protect the rights of citizens and the environment by halting all Sunoco’s pipeline operations until these egregious errors are corrected.


Join us in asking Westmoreland County District Attorney, Jeff Peck, to join the Attorney General in his investigation and to extend the investigation into Westmoreland County and other areas that have been impacted. 


Send your letter today!



We will continue to advocate for your rights, health, and environment. We will continue to pressure local and state officials to fulfill their duties. Will you?


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