Last week Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission administrative law Judge Elizabeth Barnes issued an emergency order shutting down operations at Mariner East 1 and halting construction on part of Mariner East 2 and Mariner East 2X. The ruling by this activist judge, based off comments unsubstantiated by facts, grossly disregards the rigorous multi-year process Mariner East projects went through on the state, federal, and local level to obtain permits.
Her decision was made a mere 3 weeks after the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s unanimously voted to put Mariner East 1 back into operation after finding there was no threat to the integrity of the Mariner East 1 pipeline. The PUC actually supersedes the office of administrative law judge, making her decision all the more bizarre in light of the recent ruling.
Judge Barnes’ ruling is not only deeply troubling, but also drastically overlooks the rigorous process Mariner East underwent to be legally permitted, receiving unprecedented regulatory review. Putting the project on hold only hurts Pennsylvania, keeping the Commonwealth from having a safe and reliable form of energy delivery.
The Mariner East project has also maintained the highest safely standards throughout the construction process, and now Mariner East 1 continues to uphold those standards during operations. We hope this baseless decision to stop operations and put unnecessary delays on the project is quickly overturned. This serves only to prevent Pennsylvania from seeing the economic potential that energy infrastructure can bring to the Commonwealth.