After explosions and fires, hundreds of spills and dozens of poisoned wells, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Conservation issued a bar on all permits to Energy Transfer. This is the same company behind the Dakota Access, Bayou Bridge, Trans-Pecos, Rover, Mariner East, and Revolution pipelines – all of which have wreaked havoc on communities and the environment. In his statement on the bar, PA Governor Tom Wolf stated that “there has been a failure by Energy Transfer and its subsidiaries to respect our laws and our communities.”
The permit bar should have happened long ago, but the StopETP coalition says: better late than never.
The StopETP coalition is led by groups who have been the most impacted by Energy Transfer’s destructive projects, from North Dakota to Pennsylvania, from Michigan and Ohio to Louisiana and Texas. Coalition members have had their water poisoned, land seized, and human rights violated by a company that has shown no restraint to repress those that have the audacity to oppose these pipelines.
In response to this news, coalition members have released the following statements:
“Energy Transfer Partners has shown time and time again that they think they are a law unto themselves and can ride roughshod over states, communities, and citizens rights,” said Joye Braun with the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Including putting people’s lives, homes, and the environment in jeopardy. Halting permits on this company by Pennsylvania should be a wake up call that enough is enough. Pipelines leak and pipelines explode. From Standing Rock to Pennsylvania to the Bayou and Texas we stand united in our commitment to raise awareness of the gross violations of this company to land, water, and peoples rights and lives. Energy Transfer Partners is not a good neighbor.”
“The PA Department of Environmental Protection and Governor Tom Wolf were forced to take action because of a long litany of complaints from the citizens of Pennsylvania,” said Ellen Sue Gerhart, whose property was expropriated by Energy Transfer for the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline. “We will wait to see if this is yet just another temporary halt before going back to business as usual or a serious consideration of the destruction done by this company. In addition, this halt in permits in no way mitigates the damage that has been done by fracking or the construction of cracker plants and other pipelines.”
“We applaud the Pennsylvania DECs decision to halt further destruction by ETP and strongly encourage other states to do the same,” said representatives of the L’eau Est La Vie Camp, fighting Energy Transfer’s Bayou Bridge pipeline in south Louisiana. “We are experiencing ETP’s corruption and brutality first hand. Here in the bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin, ETP hires off duty sheriffs to push the Bayou Bridge pipeline through private property without easements, across waterways without permits, and into our homes without a thought of our safety. We strongly encourage other regulatory bodies to heed the call from indigenous communities across the continent: ETP needs to get their money out of politicians pockets, their pipes out of the ground, and keep their hands off our communities.”
“The continued operation of the Mariner East Pipeline system represents a significant violation of Pennsylvanians’ civil rights,” said Rebecca Britton, founder of the Uwchlan Safety Coalition. “Title 35 is the Pennsylvania Health and Welfare Statue; it is the standard by which we define “safe” for our communities, our water supplies, and our schools. ETP’s continued resistance to compliance with these laws by refusing to release information emergency responders need to plan speaks to their true commitment; profits on the backs of our vulnerable children, hardworking families, and at the cost of our environment. While this is a good first step for reining in this ‘above the law’ operator the fact remains we must continue to fight for our rights to be warned and informed from hazard. More importantly that these hazards are truly able to be mitigated and prepared for,”
“Although this is by far the strongest action taken by the state against Energy Transfer Partners, we continue to call on Governor Wolf to permanently shut down the company’s projects,” said Karen Feridun, Founder of Berks Gas Truth. “ETP has demonstrated time and again over the course of years that it can’t or won’t comply with the laws and regulations governing the siting, construction, and operation of its pipelines. Further, we commend Governor Wolf for directing PUC to commission independent experts to conduct a remaining life study of Mariner East 1. We believe that if a such a study is done in earnest, Governor Wolf will have no choice but to shut down Mariner East 1. We believe he should call for a similar study of the 12-inch pipeline that was brought online with no review late last year to make a hybrid version of the Mariner East 2 operational.”
“ETP’s record establishes that any further “investments” in fossil fuels are in reality large scale catastrophic disinvestments,” said Cliff Rowley, member of The Health and Environmental Resources Accountability Project (THE RAP). “Here is the evidence that ‘natural gas as a bridge to clean energy’ is a dangerous illusion that continues to waste precious time. We must make investments with foresight. Skip the bridge, build The Greenway.”
“Texas based Energy Transfer LP has had the breaks put on its plans in Pennsylvania because serious safety issues from explosions and sinkholes need to be addressed to keep communities safe,” said Janet MacGillivray, Executive Director of Seeding Sovereignty. “We thank the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for acting to require proof that Energy Transfers LP and its subsidiaries, that have many pipelines snaking their way through multiple states, can and will redress issues already of great concern to residents.”
“Energy Transfer has demonstrated time and time again utter disregard for environmental law, human rights, civil liberties, and indigenous sovereignty,” said Ethan Buckner, Energy Campaigner with Earthworks. “It’s past time that governments recognize ET as the rogue operator it is, and take the necessary steps to protect the public and our environment from its reckless pipeline projects. Governor Wolf should take the next step and shut down Mariner East 1, Mariner East 2, and the Revolution pipelines permanently.”
“With 2.4 million miles of pipe, the US has the largest network of energy pipelines in the world. Continued fracking and construction of fracking infrastructure like pipelines and transfer stations will lock us into fossil fuel dependency for decades to come,” said Eleanor Bravo, National Pipeline Campaign Manager of Food & Water Watch. “Elected Officials and government agencies all over the country can learn from Pennsylvania activists who have pressured their electeds into holding companies like Energy Transfer Partners accountable for safety of residents, protecting public health and preserving the planet. They should go a step further and shut down these destructive projects for good. The time is past when big business can trample on the rights of citizens for a safe and clean environment. We call for a just and immediate transition to renewables.”
“This permit bar was a welcome and necessary step, but it must be the first of many to hold Energy Transfer accountable. It’s good to see Governor Wolf acknowledge that real climate leadership means standing with the communities who’ve been fighting these pipelines for years, but it means nothing if these pipelines are put back into service in a few months,” said Collin Rees, Senior Campaigner with Oil Change International. “Energy Transfer’s projects across Pennsylvania and the country continue to trample Indigenous rights, endanger communities, land, and water, and wreck the climate. Until these projects are shut down permanently, that’s not going to change.”