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State fines Sunoco pipeline US$12.7 million

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

The State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the penalty yesterday and said the fine was one of the largest it has ever collected in a single settlement.

DEP suspended Sunoco’s construction activities on 3 January after several pollution spills along the pipeline.

The incidents included leaks, discharges into wild trout streams and, in Berks County, drilling under a stream from a point never approved.

The US$3 billion, 350 mile pipeline will carry natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale regions of western Pennsylvania and Ohio to a refinery in Marcus Hook, near Philadelphia.

The decision to hand over a civil penalty against Sunoco Pipeline for permit violations means that construction work on the project can now resume.

DEP said Sunoco has now demonstrated it can comply with the permit requirements, and regulators will be closely monitoring the work.

“It is a very large and complex project, with that, come a lot of challenges,” said DEP spokesman Neil Shader. “But we are going to continue our strict oversight.”

Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields says the company strongly disagrees with DEP’s legal conclusions that its conduct was “willful and egregious” but has decided against continued litigation.

“We are committed to fully complying with the DEP order, which includes following all permit requirements,” Shields said. “Safety is paramount for any energy infrastructure project we do – the safety of the communities in which we work and operate, the safety of our employees, and the safety of the environment.”

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