FEATURED:

Controversial Pennsylvania pipeline can resume construction

Controversial Pennsylvania pipeline can resume construction
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A highly controversial pipeline being built across Pennsylvania can resume construction now that state officials have lifted their suspension on it.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said Thursday that it issued a $12.6 million penalty against Sunoco Pipeline regarding the Marine East 2 project, and let the project continue under increased scrutiny.

“Our action to suspend the permits associated with this project, and the collection of this penalty, are indicative of the strict oversight that DEP has consistently exercised over this project. Today’s announcement is by no means the end of DEP’s oversight,” Patrick McDonnell, the agency’s secretary, said in a statement.

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The $2.5 billion project is planned to carry natural gas liquids from shale drilling sites in the western part of the state to the eastern part of the state for transportation or refining.

The DEP said last month that it documented numerous environmental violations in construction, like using unapproved construction techniques and leaking fluids into waterways.

Sunoco is a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, the Dallas-based company that developed and operates the contentious Dakota Access pipeline in the Great Plains.

Environmentalists and some landowners have continuously objected to the project, saying it is environmentally destructive.

The oil industry welcomed the news and said it shows that companies can be environmentally responsible.

“The restart of this project is good news for the workers who were idled and hoping for a speedy resolution after construction was halted, and good news for commonwealth residents who are eager to realize the benefits of one of the state’s largest energy infrastructure projects. DEP’s action proves that regulators are being an effective watchdog to ensure safe, responsible development,” said Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance.