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PUC Approves Mariner East I Pipeline Suspension
HARRISBURG (March 14, 2018) – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) unanimously voted today to approve and formalize the suspension of Sunoco’s Mariner East I pipeline, according to state Senator Andy Dinniman.
The pipeline was temporarily shut down by emergency order last week due to ongoing safety and geologic stability concerns related to problems stemming from the drilling of Mariner East II.
“I appreciate the PUC’s unanimous vote in moving forward with eliminating this potential threat to the health, safety, and well-being of my constituents,” Dinniman, who has long been a vocal critic of the pipeline project, said.
Thursday’s vote formalized the process that began last week when the 80-year-old pipeline was shut down via emergency order due to safety concerns. Mariner East I was exposed at a site on Lisa Drive in West Whiteland by a sinkhole that apparently developed as a result of Sunoco’s drilling the Mariner East II pipeline.
Several Chester County residents from community groups concerns about the pipeline attended the PUC meeting.
Mariner East I dates back to the 1930s, and originally carried petroleum products from Marcus Hook west. Today, it operates in a west to east direction and is permitted to carry liquid propane, butane, and ethane.
Mariner East II largely shares the original easement of Mariner East I and its construction has been plagued with problems for months, including the contamination of almost two-dozen wells, damage to aquifers, and the development of multiple sinkholes that threaten private homes. Two of the sinkholes are within close proximity of Amtrak’s Keystone Line.
In granting the emergency suspension last week, Chairwoman Gladys Brown wrote, “I agree with the BIE (Bureau of Inspection and Enforcement) that permitting continued flow of hazardous liquids through the ME1 pipeline without proper steps to ensure the integrity of the pipeline could have catastrophic results impacting the public.”