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Environmental groups fight DEP pipeline decision

| Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, 3:42 p.m.
Sunoco Logistics
This map shows the approximate route and facility locations for Sunoco Logistics' Mariner East 1 and 2 pipeline projects, which will ship natural gas liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shale areas to the company’s Marcus Hook complex near Philadelphia.

Environmental groups on Tuesday announced they have appealed a state decision to issue permits that would allow Sunoco Logistics LP to construct its 350-mile Mariner East 2 pipeline.

The Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Mountain Watershed Association opposed 20 permits approved Monday by the Department of Environmental Protection.

The groups filed their objections with the Environmental Hearing Board, a specialized court established to hear appeals on DEP actions. The case is assigned to Judge Bernard A. Labuskes Jr., a Pittsburgh native who lives in Cumberland County.

A hearing for a temporary stay on pipeline construction is scheduled for Thursday in Harrisburg.

Sunoco Logistics was not immediately available for comment.

The company's 20-inch pipeline would run parallel to its 12-inch Mariner East line, both carrying propane, ethane and butane to the Marcus Hook plant near Philadelphia.

According to the DEP permit, the pipeline would cross about 270 properties in Jeannette, Murrysville and the eight townships: Rostraver, South Huntingdon, Sewickley, Hempfield, Penn, Salem, Loyalhanna and Derry. Before Sunoco Logistics can move forward with construction, it must gain Army Corps of Engineers approval.

“Sunoco's permit applications were woefully incomplete, inaccurate and contradictory, and DEP's review and approval was utterly inadequate,” said Joseph Minott, executive director and chief counsel of the Clean Air Council.

“What DEP has authorized with these permits is the destruction of Pennsylvania streams and wetlands, the endangerment of the public and great damage to both public and private property,” Minott's statement says.

DEP does not comment on pending litigation, agency spokeswoman Lauren Fraley wrote in an email.

According to the Clean Air Council, Sunoco has received 262 incident reports and 32 enforcement actions from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The company also has received 17 Notice of Probable Violation orders amounting to $2.3 million in fines.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1298.

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