FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2018
Elise Gerhart, elisealcyone [at] gmail.com, 707-499-3989
Karen Feridun, karen.feridun [at] gmail.com, 610-678-7726
STATEMENT: Despite record fine, ETP should not be allowed to resume construction of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline
Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Sunoco – a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners – a record $12.6 million over violations incurred during the construction of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline. The fine is part of a settlement between Sunoco and the DEP that lifts the January 3rd stop work order that suspended construction permits for the pipeline.
In response to this news, members of the StopETP coalition issued the following statements:
“ETP has the the most egregious safety record of any pipeline operator in the United States. Had the state of Pennsylvania looked at the bigger picture before issuing permits, they would have realized that there is no way for ETP to build a pipeline without violating people’s rights or rights of the environment. These facts should have been evident from all the injustice perpetrated against indigenous people, their allies, and the Earth during construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. ETP lost their social license long before they ever received permits in Pennsylvania,” said Elise Gerhart, co-founder of Camp White Pine, a pipeline resistance encampment on the Mariner East 2 route in south-central Pennsylvania.
“PA DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said, ‘Throughout the life of this project, DEP has consistently held this operator to the highest standard possible.’ That is demonstrably untrue. The DEP issued the permits a year ago in spite of the fact that unresolved deficiencies remained in the company’s application. In September of 2016, the DEP issued 17 letters citing collectively hundreds of remaining deficiencies in the application that had been in process for years. Berks County’s letter alone contained 115 remaining deficiencies,” said Karen Feridun, Founder of Berks Gas Truth.
“Del-Chesco United is deeply concerned that this project has once again been given the green light without assessing the potential risks to our communities,” said Caroline Hughes, spokesperson for Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety. “Governor Wolf and the DEP continue to prioritize Sunoco’s profits over the health, safety, and welfare of Pennsylvanians. Residents are both outraged and activated, and we will continue to hold Governor Wolf accountable.”
“For the past year, residents of Pennsylvania have had to step in to monitor and report Sunoco’s unlawful and illegal activities, resulting in many of the 34 Notices of Violations that led to the recent halt,” added George Alexander of the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety. “We have asked Governor Wolf to keep construction halted in order to procure an independent unbiased assessment of the risk to public safety. The Governor has failed to keep the project halted, and has failed to address the potential risks this project poses. He has left residents with little recourse than to employ additional strategies to protect our families and our communities.”
Lynda Farrell, Executive Director of the Pipeline Safety Coalition, noted, “Secretary McDonnell stated he was shutting down Sunoco/ETP’s Mariner pipeline for ‘egregious and willful violations’ of state law. He promised to ‘hold this project accountable to the strong protections in the permits.’ In a month’s time, without public input and clearly without appropriate time to ensure ETP could not continue to egregiously and wilfully violate the Commonwealth, a deal is struck. This settlement is an affront to the people of the Commonwealth.”
“This fine is just another cost of doing business for Sunoco and ETP,” said Brant Olson of ClimateTruth.org. “Even this record fine doesn’t come close to making up for the harm ETP has already caused communities, and to the damage Mariner East 2 will do to the climate in coming decades. To truly prevent the irreparable harm caused by these dangerous pipelines, Governor Wolf must stop allowing companies like ETP to build them in the first place.”