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Pennsylvania Eminent Domain Blog

The Pennsylvania Attorney General Investigates Mariner East II

April 4th, 2019 | by Mike Faherty

The Attorney General, with broad powers to investigate crime, is investigating crimes by Sunoco Pipeline/Energy Transfer Partners. Those with information or evidence should contact the office of Attorney General Shapiro.

Pa. attorney general launches investigation into Mariner East II pipeline

The Mariner East II pipeline, which crosses Pennsylvania, has been the subject of fines, shutdowns and allegations of polluting drinking water and disregarding safety by residents across the state, including some in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday he is launching an investigation into the pipeline.

The state’s top prosecutor has opened an investigation into Sunoco Pipeline and its parent company, Energy Transfer Partners, into their pipeline that spans the state.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said on Twitter Tuesday his office is investigating the liquid natural gas pipeline project known as Mariner East II.

“We will leave no stone unturned in this case,” he said in the post.

It is a join investigation with Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland into allegations of criminal misconduct, reports.

This follows Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan starting his own investigation in December and, according to the Delaware County Daily Times, empaneling a grand jury last month.

Energy Transfer Partners officials told there is no legitimate basis for conducting a criminal investigation, and they have worked closely with the state and inspectors to respond to citizen concerns.

The nature of the accusations of criminal misconduct that are the focus of Copeland’s investigation were unclear, but according to reports, she said many residents have directly expressed concerns over the operations of the pipeline and have made formal complaints and allegations of potential misconduct.

In Chester County in December, Hogan said “We expected the state regulators and the governor to step in and assure the safety of Pennsylvanians. They have not… So now the Chester County District Attorney’s Office will demand that every aspect of these pipelines be conducted safely, or we will bring into play all of the tools of the criminal justice system.”

In Cumberland County, Lower Frankford Township resident Wilmer Baker has a hearing scheduled for March 28 before the Public Utilities Commission over safety concerns with the Mariner East 2 pipeline, which runs near his home.

Last month, the state Department of Environmental Protection halted construction permits for the company’s pipelines, saying they have not fixed problems related to an explosion last year.

“There has been a failure by Energy Transfer and its subsidiaries to respect our laws and our communities,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement last month. “This is not how we strive to do business in Pennsylvania, and it will not be tolerated.”

In August, state officials had levied a $148,000 fine against the company for harming private wells while building the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Lebanon, Berks and Chester counties.

And in April, the company agreed to pay a $355,622 penalty for allowing materials from drilling for the natural gas products pipeline to flow into streams and wetlands in Cumberland, Dauphin, Blair, Cambria, Huntingdon, Indiana, Lancaster, Washington, Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

Upper Frankford Resident Rolfe Blume, who fought and ultimately lost an eminent domain battle with the pipeline, said construction has left his well contaminated.

According to the company, the 350-mile pipeline transports domestically-produced ethane, propane and butane east from processing plants in Ohio, across West Virginia and Pennsylvania to Energy Transfer’s Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in Delaware County, where its stored for distribution locally, domestically and overseas.

The pipeline went online in December.

Written by: Steve Marroni |