For 36 days, a vital part of Pennsylvania’s infrastructure has been stuck in neutral, unable to help our workers or benefit our economy. Since the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a halt to construction along the Mariner East 2 Pipeline on January 3rd of this year, thousands of workers have been without work, a project that will impact Pennsylvania’s economy to the tune of $9.1 billion has stood pat, and our state has quietly suffered.
Thankfully, the DEP announced this morning that it “has lifted the order suspending DEP-permitted operations” after receiving a revised Operations Plan from Sunoco Pipeline. The DEP also announced “that it has issued a $12.6 million civil penalty to Sunoco Pipeline, LLP (Sunoco) for permit violations” related to the project.
Within the revised Operations Plan, Sunoco Pipeline adds “additional measures and controls Sunoco will put in place to ensure that all permit conditions will be followed at all times moving forward, as well as additional measures and controls that Sunoco will implement to minimize inadvertent returns and water supply incidents,” which will further ensure that the 350-mile pipeline is constructed safely and efficiently, placing a premium on minimizing the environmental impact.
As DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement,
“Since the permit suspension over a month ago, Sunoco has demonstrated that it has taken steps to ensure the company will conduct the remaining pipeline construction activities in accordance with the law and permit conditions, and will be allowed to resume. DEP will be monitoring activities closely to ensure that Sunoco is meeting the terms of this agreement and its permits.”
With more than 90% of the mainline pipeline construction complete, it’s exciting to see this project getting back on track. Throughout the construction process, nearly 60,000 workers will be employed, impacting communities from Washington to Delaware county. Delaying the project was harming Pennsylvanians, harming our infrastructure, and harming our unique position in the energy world.
We should expect construction to begin in earnest within the next few weeks, and it’s about time Pennsylvania’s union members are able to get back to work. This is an incredible step not only for Pennsylvania’s workers and economy, but the country as a whole. The Mariner East 2 pipeline is a vital part of our nation’s infrastructure expansion, and with the DEP’s greenlight this morning we’re set to see the benefits sooner rather than later.