The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has taken firm action against Sunoco parent company Energy Transfer LP. Beginning immediately as of February 8th, 2019, the DEP “will be withholding the issuance of any approvals…requested by…Energy Transfer LP, and any other subsidiary”.
The suspension of all pending permit applications was prompted by what the DEP states as Energy Transfer LP’s “fail[ure] to comply” with DEP orders regarding its Revolution Pipeline project. The Revolution Pipeline is not the only one affected by this. As Energy Transfer LP owns both the Revolution and Mariner East pipeline projects, the already controversial and heavily sanctioned Mariner East permits are indefinitely pending as well.
The action was sparked by an explosion of the Revolution Pipeline in Beaver County in the late summer of 2018. The explosion was said to be caused instability on the geology of the area which led to a rupture and explosion of high-pressure natural gas. Energy Transfer LP has had the opportunity to remedy the issue, but the DEP has not found their efforts sufficient. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that in early January of this year, the DEP inspected the affected area of the pipeline 46 times, each inspection uncovering a violation.
Both the Mariner East and Revolution projects will remain at a standstill until Energy Transfer LP can satisfy the DEP’s standards. This hiccup was certainly not how Energy Transfer LP was planning on beginning the New Year after the seemingly never-ending controversy in 2018. With pipeline development on the rise in Pennsylvania, it is imperative that all necessary safety regulations are abided by.