Revolution, Mariner East to Resume after $30 Million Settlement

Pennsylvania regulators fined an Energy Transfer subsidiary more than $30 million Friday for violations related to construction of its Revolution natural gas pipeline but ruled the company will be allowed to resume construction of the project.

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued one of its largest-ever civil penalties after an investigation found Energy Transfer's ETC Northeast Pipeline subsidiary had violated numerous regulations during construction in western Pennsylvania.

The financial penalty was part of a settlement agreement between DEP and ETC Northeast, under which the department agreed to lift a statewide moratorium on construction permits imposed on Energy Transfer nearly a year ago.

That means Energy Transfer will be allowed to resume construction on its Mariner East pipeline network that transports natural gas liquids across southeastern Pennsylvania. The company has incurred millions of dollars in fines and weathered several shutdown orders over Mariner East, primarily due to polluted waterways and drinking water wells. At least two criminal investigations involving Mariner East are underway.

The Department of Environmental Protection said it would keep a close eye on Energy Transfer during construction and would reinstate the permit ban if the company violated the environmental laws. Energy Transfer promised compliance and said Friday it was “pleased to have reached an agreement with the DEP that will allow us to safely complete the construction projects we have underway in Pennsylvania.”

The settlement was blasted by environmentalists but praised by a coalition of business groups and labor unions.  Kurt Knaus, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, said the decision to lift the permit ban means that “skilled laborers who have been waiting to get back to work will finally be back on the job, putting their training to use for the safe, responsible development of critical infrastructure.”

A 2018 landslide along the pipeline's route in Beaver County triggered a gas explosion and fire that destroyed a home, a barn and several cars, and prompted an evacuation.

The department said Dallas-based Energy Transfer has “demonstrated its intention to correct its unlawful conduct to DEP’s satisfaction.”

— Associated Press

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