Statement: Response to DEP Halting Mariner East 2 Work

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Wednesday suspended construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline, meaning Sunoco must cease all activity on the statewide project except for maintenance of erosion controls and limited maintenance of horizontal directional drilling equipment.

Every stakeholder involved in this process — the laborers building the pipeline, businesses and residents who will benefit from it, groups concerned about Pennsylvania’s environment, even Sunoco and DEP — have a shared priority: safe pipeline construction. That was made clear in the jointly negotiated agreement approved by the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board in August to advance construction along the entire stretch of the 350-mile Mariner East 2 pipeline.

Sunoco and DEP should work expeditiously to resolve this matter in order for safe pipeline construction to continue — not just for the benefit of the workers who may be idled, but also for the full protection of Pennsylvania’s environment. Industry experts agree that actions that cause construction and horizontal directional drilling to start and stop, start and stop have the potential for even greater harm.

This is not a new project. It has been and remains subject to rigorous regulatory review, as this action shows. These permits remains among the most stringent that DEP has ever issued for this type of project. Local voices have been heard at dozens of public meetings and hearings over the years. Over 29,000 formal comments were made in response to Mariner East 2’s DEP permit application, a clear majority of which were in favor of the project, another reason both DEP and Sunoco need to resolve these matters quickly and get the project back on track.

If you are writing about today’s DEP order, please feel free to use any of this material as well as the following statement attributed to me, Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance:

“Every stakeholder involved in this process has the same shared priority: the safe development of critical infrastructure like Mariner East 2. We are acutely aware of how this project affects our communities — as we are of the tremendous economic benefits it promises for Pennsylvania businesses and consumers upon completion. This project remains critically important for our commonwealth. Sunoco and DEP should work expeditiously to resolve this matter so safe construction can resume and this vital project can get back on track.”

For more than two years, the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance has advocated for the safe, responsible development of critical infrastructure and boosts in economic activity.

Kurt Knaus, Spokesman
Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance
P: 717-571-5687
Harrisburg, Pa.

PEIA is a broad-based coalition of labor, agriculture, manufacturing and other business interests statewide that support private investment in pipeline and other energy infrastructure developments.