DEP must take a closer look at air-quality permits for Mariner East processing facility
The processing equipment designed to handle natural gas liquids from Sunoco’s Mariner East pipelines was unlawfully issued an air-quality permit, according to the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board.
The board ruled on Wednesday that the state’s Department of Environmental Protection erred in assessing multiple projects at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook, Pa., facility on their own individual pollution merits, rather than aggregating them to determine if more stringent air-quality requirements are necessary.
“The larger project was unlawfully broken up into smaller projects for the sake of permitting,” wrote Clean Air Council officials in a statement issued Thursday. The Clean Air Council appealed DEP approval of part of the Marcus Hook project plans in 2016, which led to a May 2018 trial.
The Environmental Hearing Board’s decision sends the air-quality permit back to DEP so its officials can re-evaluate how the project should be permitted.
Sunoco officials said they look forward to working with the DEP.
“(The) ruling has no impact on the construction and operation activities authorized under Plan Approval E while the PA DEP conducts an analysis of the permit, which we feel was permitted correctly,” said Lisa Dillinger, spokeswoman for Sunoco’s parent company Energy Transfer.
“The Environmental Hearing Board’s decision is not only a victory for Clean Air Council, it is a victory for public health and the neighboring communities,” said Joseph Otis Minott, executive director and chief counsel for the Clean Air Council. “Too often, big industry players have avoided pollution controls by creating loopholes that jeopardize air quality protections.”
Dillinger viewed it differently.
”We will work with the PA DEP to provide them with the appropriate information for their review, and we are pleased that the overriding outcome was the Environmental Hearing Board’s denial of the Clean Air Council’s request to revoke the permit,” she said.
Click here to read the board’s full written decision.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, email@example.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.