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April 20, 2019

Sunoco provides notice of intent to restart Marine East 1 pipeline next week

Development Environment
Mariner East Project Chester County Planning Commission/Source

A map of the proposed Mariner East Project pipeline.

Sunoco informed the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Friday of its intent to restart the controversial Mariner East 1 pipeline.

The pipeline has been out of service since Jan. 20, when a sinkhole opened up in the backyard of a Chester County home.

The January sinkhole opened near the site of previous sinkholes, and the pipeline’s repeated problems in Chester County have been a flashpoint for critics of the Mariner pipelines in Pennsylvania.

Now, Sunoco says it’s focused on taking “enhanced safety actions” to assuage the safety concerns of residents.

A few of the enhanced safety actions Sunoco outlined include:

• Further remediation of the Lisa Drive area in Chester County, considering the impact of open trench excavation of the 20-inch Mariner East 2 pipeline.

• Sunoco will commit personnel to walk the Lisa Drive section of Mariner East 1 daily, except during dangerous inclement weather, until grouting of Mariner East 1 is complete. Sunoco will provide reports on each visual inspection.

• Sunoco will perform geophysical tests in the area behind Lisa Drive every six months for two years.

• Sunoco will continuously monitor strain gauge data and routinely provide reports.

In January, a Chester County homeowner near the sinkhole called the repeated troubles at the Lisa Drive site “alarming” and “despicable”.

Sunoco’s other Mariner pipelines have also run into trouble and opposition. In February, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced it had halted construction permits for Energy Transfer, which merged with Sunoco.

At the time, Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement that Energy Transfer had failed to respect the state’s laws and communities.

Between May 2017 and November 2018, two of Energy Transfer’s pipelines in Pennsylvania and Ohio — including the Mariner East 2 — racked up more than 800 state and federal violations, according to the Digital Journal.

“This is not how we strive to do business in Pennsylvania, and it will not be tolerated,” Wolf said.

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