PUC Approves $48,000 Refund To Sunoco Pipeline On A Penalty It Paid For Mariner East Pipeline Construction Violations

On December 8, the Public Utility Commission voted unanimously to approve a $48,000 refund of a $51,000 penalty paid to the PUC by Sunoco Pipeline for Mariner East Pipeline construction violations.

In March, a PUC Administrative Law Judge Joel H. Cheskis issued an initial decision against Sunoco/Energy Transfer which found the company violated the Public Utility Code during the construction of the Mariner East Pipeline in Middletown Township, Delaware County with regard to fire hazards, noise levels and communications with the public at the Glen Riddle Apartment Complex.  Read more here.

Judge Cheskis proposed a $51,000 penalty-- $1,000 each for the violations identified by the judge.  Sunoco Pipeline paid the fine on August 2, 2022.

On September 13, 2022, the full PUC reconsidered the $51,000 penalty and reduced it to $3,000 based on a new finding the Commission did not intend to set a statewide noise limit for construction operations of this type.  Read more here.

PUC Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille made a statement prior to the vote saying while she opposed the reconsideration of the penalty in September, she supports the refund to Sunoco Pipeline.

“On December 2, 2022, Glen Riddle Station LP filed a formal complaint alleging that Sunoco Pipeline LP’s construction of Mariner East 2 and Mariner East 2X pipelines across and adjacent to its buildings, which house 124 residential apartments, caused severe disruption to its residents sufficient to constitute unreasonable service by the utility.

“Glen Riddle claimed that Sunoco's actions adversely affected property parking and traffic safety, created an unsafe construction work site, shirked government mandated pandemic safety protocols, caused a waterline break depriving residents of water service, raised structural and storm damage concerns, drainage concerns, and that the utility failed to communicate regarding a potentially hazardous leak.

“At the June 16th, 2022 public meeting the Commission denied Sunoco's exceptions to the initial decision and sustained the ALJ's determination that Sunoco provided an unreasonable service as well as the recommended $51,000 civil penalty.

“At the August 25th, 2022 public meeting, the commission granted Sunoco's petition to reconsider and rescinded $48,000 of the civil penalty. I dissented on that vote because Sunoco failed to raise any new or novel arguments on reconsideration

“As a public service message I reiterated that had proper public notice of construction activity been given to Glen Riddle, as required by our regulations, an accord could have been reached between the parties regarding construction times and possible ways to minimize disruption to the community.

“The petition before us for consideration today is Sunoco's request for a refund of 48,000 of the 51,000 civil penalty paid.

“Although I dissented on the decision to lower the civil penalty, I agree that consistent with the majority's decision to lower the penalty, the instant petition requesting the refund should be granted.”

Previous Penalties/Charges

The PUC has collected more than $425,000 in penalties from Sunoco Pipeline for other construction and pipeline operations violations involving the Mariner East Pipeline.

The PUC also penalized Sunoco’s related company Energy Transfer Company nearly $2 million for violations related to the 2018 Revolution Pipeline explosion in Beaver County/

In addition, DEP has collected a total of more than $24 million in penalties from Sunoco related to the construction of the cross-state Mariner East Pipeline [Read more here].

In August, the Attorney General Josh Shapiro convicted Sunoco Pipeline and Northeast Pipeline Company of environmental crimes against the company related to the Mariner East and Revolution pipelines construction and operation.  [Read more here].

The construction practices of the Mariner East Pipeline have resulted in the most penalties and criminal charges of any construction project in Pennsylvania’s history.

Documents related to this case can be found at PUC Docket No. C-2020-3023129.  [ Click Here to conduct a docket search. ]

Related Articles - PUC Actions Mariner East:

-- AP: PUC Judge: Sunoco/Energy Transfer Failed To Protect Delaware County Community During Construction Of Mariner East Pipeline, $51,000 Penalty Proposed

-- PUC Orders More Than A Dozen Actions To Improve Safety In Construction, Operation Of Mariner East Pipelines; Sunoco Must Pay $2,000 Penalty [November, 2021]

-- PUC Judge’s Opinion Orders Sunoco To Improve Public Safety, Emergency Outreach Measures, Rebury Pipelines Related To Mariner East Pipeline Project, Full PUC Approval Needed [April, 2021]

-- PUC Approves 2nd Order On Reporting Integrity Of Sunoco's Mariner East 1 Pipeline, Leaves $200,000 Penalty In Place [May, 2020]

-- PUC Requires Remaining Life Study, Public Reporting On Integrity Of Sunoco's Mariner East I Pipeline; Issues $200,000 Penalty [March, 2020]

-- Bipartisan Pipeline Safety Legislation Highlighted By PUC Administrative Law Judge Decision In Mariner East I Pipeline Leak [January, 2020]

-- PUC Investigating Subsidence Involving Several Pipelines Near Site Of Sunoco Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction In Delaware County [September, 2019]

-- PUC Dismisses Complaint Filed By Sen. Dinniman Against Mariner East Pipelines Per Court Order, But Continues Proceedings On Related Complaints [September, 2019]

-- PUC Refuses Sunoco Request To Resume Construction Of Mariner East 2 Pipeline In Chester County [April, 2019]

-- PUC Investigating Subsidence Near Sunoco Mariner East 2 Bypass Pipeline In Delaware County [April, 2019]

-- PUC Enforcement Bureau Proposes $225,000 Penalty For 2017 Ethane/Propane Leak From Mariner East 1 Pipeline In Berks County [December, 2018]

-- PUC Approves Resolution Of Mariner East 2 Pipeline Valve Dispute In Chester County [September, 2018]

-- Public Utility Commission Partially Lifts Mariner East 2, 2x Pipeline Construction Shut Down In Chester County [August, 2018]

-- PUC Judge Issues Order To Shut Down Mariner East 1, 2, 2x Pipelines, Sunoco To Appeal [May, 2018]

Related Articles - Other Mariner East Pipeline Actions:

-- AG Shapiro: Energy Transfer/Sunoco Convicted Of Criminal Charges Related To Construction Of Mariner East 2 & Revolution Natural Gas/Liquids Pipelines In PA

-- Sunoco Fails To Meet July 1 Cleanup Deadline For Mariner East Pipeline Spill In The Lake At Marsh Creek State Park, Chester County

-- Sunoco/Mariner East Pipeline To Pay $4 Million In Damages And Restore Lake At Marsh Creek State Park Polluted By A Spill In Chester County

DEP Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard -  Dec. 3 to 9  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment [PaEN]

-- DEP Posted 50 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In The Dec. 10 PA Bulletin   [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- Sign Petition Urging Governor-Elect Shapiro To Prioritize Banning Roading Dumping Of Conventional Drilling Wastewater  [PaEN]

-- DEP Issues Orders To Equitrans To Plug Additional Wells At Cambria County Underground Natural Gas Storage Facility, Bring Other Wells Up To Current Casing Standards And Take Other Actions  [PaEN]

-- Delaware River Basin Commission Adopts A Ban On Discharging Wastewater From Hydraulic Fracturing Drilling Operations, Strengthens Rules On Exporting, Importing Water To Support Fracking  [PaEN]

-- Bob Donnan Blog: Comparing How The Delaware River Basin Commission And The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission Address Shale Gas Industry Wastewater

-- Bay Journal: Hellbender Habitat Slammed By Pollution From Shale Gas Development In PA's Loyalsock Creek - By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal  [PaEN]

-- DCED’s Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling Advisory Council Meets Dec. 15 On Radioactive Drilling Waste; Road Dumping Wastewater; Limits On Methane Emissions; More  [PaEN]

-- Marcellus Drilling News: 3 Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Groups File Lawsuit To Block Rule Limiting VOC/Methane Emissions From Conventional Oil & Gas Facilities [PaEN]

-- Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority Moves To Renewable Natural Gas, Away From Shale Gas To Power Vehicles  [PaEN]

-- PUC Winter Natural Gas Reliability Reports - Households Using Natural Gas Will See A Significant Increase In Heating Bills  [PaEN]

-- Independent Fiscal Office Reports 3rd Quarter PA Natural Gas Production Dropped For 3rd Consecutive Quarter Over 2021; PA Hub Natural Gas Price Increased 94.7% Over Last Year  [PaEN]

-- PUC Approves $48,000 Refund To Sunoco Pipeline On A Penalty It Paid For Mariner East Pipeline Construction Violations  [PaEN]


-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: Equitrans Natural Gas Storage Well Leak In Cambria County Sparks Overhaul Of Monitoring Efforts

-- StateImpactPA - Reid Frazier: DEP Says Leaks, Spill Damage Continue At Cambria County Gas Storage Site That Leaked For Weeks

-- WJAC: DEP: Investigation Into Cambria County Storage Area Natural Gas Leak Revealed ‘Numerous Violations’ By Company

-- Tribune-Democrat: DEP Orders Gas Company To Take Mitigation Steps After Storage Area Natural Gas Leak; Incident Brought 10 Violations, State Says

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: DEP Orders Equitrans To Take Action On Natural Gas Storage Area Release

-- Bloomberg: Pennsylvania Says Many Violations Seen At Site Of Natural Gas Storage Area Leak

-- Environmental Health News: Waste From 8 PA Shale Gas Drilling Sites Using PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Shipped To At Least 97 Sites For Reuse And Disposal [23 Million Gallons Of Waste, 30,390 Tons Of Solid Waste]

-- Inside Climate News - Jon Hurdle: Dimock Clean Drinking Water Plea Suggests New PA Governor Won’t Tolerate Violations By Energy Companies, Advocates Say

-- Capital & Main - Audrey Carleton: Inside The 14-Year Battle To Secure A Water Line For Fracking’s ‘Ground Zero’ [Dimock, Susquehanna County]

-- AP: Delaware River Basin Commission Limits Fracking Waste In Delaware River Watershed

-- StateImpactPA - Susan Phillips: Delaware River Basin Commission Bans Fracking Wastewater From Watershed

-- WHYY: Delaware River Basin Commission Votes To Ban Fracking Wastewater Discharges

-- Courier Times/Pocono Record: Water And Fracking - What The Delaware River Basin Commission Bans, Allows Under New Rules

-- PennLive: Customers Going To Pay More For Electric, Natural Gas In Central PA

-- The Center Square - Anthony Hennen: PA Natural Gas Price Up 95%; New Shale Gas Wells Up 42%

-- Power For Tomorrow: The Impact Of Natural Gas Price Spikes On Electricity Prices

-- Marcellus Drilling News: Marcellus/Utica Drillers (All Gas Drillers) Had Fantastic Third Quarter Earnings

-- Baker Hughes PA Natural Gas Drilling Rig Count Same As Last Week - 22

-- RMI: The Business Case For New Fossil Gas Power Plants Is Shrinking

-- Marcellus Shale Coalition Video: Time To Build Natural Gas Pipelines, Power Plants And More

[Posted: December 8, 2022]


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