FBI launches investigation into Pennsylvania pipeline permits: report

The FBI has launched a probe into how Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's (D) administration issued construction permits for a pipeline project carrying volatile natural gas across the state, The Associated Press reported, citing three people with direct knowledge.

The three people told the wire service that the FBI has interviewed employees regarding the Mariner East project and permits for its construction. 

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The bureau is reportedly looking into whether Wolf or his administration made environmental protection staff approve the permits and whether Wolf or his administration received anything in exchange.

The AP noted that the nearly $3 billion construction project was one of the largest in the state's history and that it involves multibillion-dollar company Energy Transfer LP. 

The construction, which was approved in 2017, has resulted in millions of dollars in fines, many temporary shutdown orders and lawsuits. 

The Hill has reached out to Wolf's office for comment. The governor's administration declined to comment to the AP. In the past, the governor and his administration have said the permits had strong environmental protections and that the Department of Environmental Protection was not forced to issue them. 

The Hill has also reached out to the FBI and Energy Transfer for comment. An energy transfer spokeswoman told the AP that the firm had not been contacted by the FBI about the project. 

The Mariner East 2 pipeline started working in December and the Mariner East 2X pipeline is slated to be complete in 2020, per the AP. 

The news outlet noted that the pipelines are near schools, homes and parks in the southeastern part of the state and have caused worry among people who live nearby.