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Mariner East Drilling Settlement Offers New Protections

The Mariner East II project will carry natural gas liquids across 17 counties in Pennsylvania.(Jay Phagan/Flickr)
The Mariner East II project will carry natural gas liquids across 17 counties in Pennsylvania.
(Jay Phagan/Flickr)
August 10, 2017

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Some Pennsylvania landowners now have stronger protections against spills and water contamination associated with construction of the Mariner East II pipeline.

State officials approved a settlement that environmental groups reached with Sunoco and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Alex Bomstein, senior litigation attorney with the Clean Air Council, explains the agreement strengthens plans to prevent and respond to problems during construction of the pipeline.

"Increased opportunities for people with water wells near drilling sites to comment on the plans that Sunoco has for drilling,” he states. “Increased notice provisions and a number of other types of protections, including changes to what happens if a drilling fluid spill occurs."

Bomstein notes pipeline construction has resulted in 90 spills of drilling fluid since April, and drilling operations have resulted in damage to water supplies in at least five locations.

The Mariner East II project will carry natural gas liquids across 17 counties in the state.

Bomstein says it is crucial that residents stay involved in the project and closely watch for any possible changes in their drinking water or nearby streams, lakes and wetlands.

"If problems come up, if people notice that their water is no longer good near the drilling operations, it's very important to get in touch with the Department of Environmental Protection and let them know so there can be investigations done and see if everything is safe or not," he urges.

Meanwhile, the Clean Air Council and other environmental groups are still appealing permits issued for the pipeline by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - PA