Details on the latest in the Mariner East pipeline saga have come to light thanks to reporting from E&E News’ Mike Soraghan, who reported today that construction in Chester County, Pennsylvania can resume immediately.
Thanks to State Environmental Hearing Board Judge Bernard Labuskes “Sunoco may restart drilling immediately” after the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection halted operations in the area after water leaked from a seeping location. According to Judge Labuskes the company made it clear that a sustained shutdown of construction would risk damaging the borehole on site, and could result in added construction. Sunoco LP, the project’s operator, must continue with its reclamation and mitigation procedures.
Local media have been quick to deride the Judge’s decision and in typical fashion have called for Governor Wolf to shutter the project, but this ignores many factors. Namely construction fatigue in SEPA. The Mariner East 2 project is in its final stages of completion and need not be halted. Moreover, a strong hurricane season (as is developing in the Gulf Coast) could endanger the open borehole and ultimately the completion timeline of the project.
Kudos for Soraghan for taking the necessary due diligence to report accurately and a hat tip to Judge Labuskes for making the correct decision above the noise of local politics and rhetoric that has driven too much of the narrative around the Mariner East system. Pennsylvanians should be looking forward to the operation of the Mariner East 2 pipeline; with it comes added capacity for Pennsylvania’s natural resources and a safe means for them to be utilized for a variety benefits to residents.