Construction of a controversial cross-state pipeline in Pennsylvania will continue under strict scrutiny after Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection removed the suspension on the project.
Sunoco Pipeline will now resume construction activities after receiving a $12.6 million civil penalty for violating construction permits for its Mariner East 2 pipeline project. In light of a stringent compliance review and agreement, the DEP announced Wednesday that it will allow Sunoco to continue construction on the pipeline. The DEP authorized the suspension order in early January after regulators recorded multiple environmental violations, such as spills and well contamination, the Hill reported last month.
The DEP will continue to monitor the project as the pipeline moves forward, according to Secretary of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell. "Today's announcement is by no means the end of DEP's oversight," McDonnell said in a statement. "Since the permit suspension over a month ago, Sunoco has demonstrated that it has taken steps to ensure the company will conduct the remaining pipeline construction activities in accordance with the law and permit conditions."
The $2.5 billion project is the second-phase expansion of an existing Sunoco Mariner East pipeline system that transports natural gas liquids intrastate. The company says that the expansion is "critical to Pennsylvania's economy, and resumption of construction will put thousands of workers back on the job."
According to the DEP, the $12.6 million is one of the largest payments collected in a single settlement for civil penalties. The entirety of the fund will go toward the Clean Water Fund and the Dams and Encroachments Fund, a 1978 act passed by the DEP to provide for the regulation and safety of dams and reservoirs.