Energy Transfer not contesting criminal charges related to Mariner East pipeline construction

The state’s attorney general said Texas-based pipeline builder Energy Transfer “accepts criminal responsibility” for dozens of charges related to the construction of its Mariner East pipeline project.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that the company had waived its preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday. Energy Transfer has not contested the charges and the company will have a permanent criminal record for causing damage to the state’s drinking water, wetlands and waterways during the five years of construction of the gas pipeline network. of liquefied natural gas.

“It is high time this company was held accountable for the damage it has inflicted on residents and the environment,” said Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum.

In October 2021, the The Attorney General released a presentation to the grand jury dozens of detailed pages chasms, drilling mud spills and drinking water contamination at 22 sites in 11 counties in Pennsylvania. In February, the AG accused the company of nine additional criminal charges linked to the 2018 explosion of the Revolution Pipeline in Beaver County.

The plea includes charges related to the Revolution pipeline.

Energy Transfer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The charges against her were against the company itself, not individuals within the company. Before the charges were filed, the company acknowledged in a report on the findings that the attorney general had reviewed “allegations of criminal misconduct involving the construction and related activities of the Mariner East pipelines.” The company said it was cooperating but “intends to defend itself vigorously.”

As part of advocacy, Energy Transfer is required to repair and restore damaged water supplies. People who believe their water is affected will benefit from a free test from an independent party. The Attorney General will engage independent professional geologists unrelated to the company to conduct a review.

Energy Transfer will spend $10 million to restore waterways damaged by its construction. The attorney general’s office says that’s more than six times the maximum sentence required under state law. Under Pennsylvania Clean Flow Law, the penalties for those charges would have been just $1.45 million.

When announcing the October charges, Shapiro called on the state legislature to toughen enforcement standards and fines, and said the Environmental Protection Department “has sometimes failed” to protect residents.

He pointed to the testimony of Rosemary Fuller of Delaware County, whose daughter was hospitalized after drinking water contaminated by the construction of the Energy Transfer pipeline. The company had told him that everything was fine with the water, but the tests revealed E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria. Fuller’s water has not been restored.

The grand jury also found that the company used unapproved chemicals in its drilling mud.

In five years, the DEP fined Energy Transfer more than $20 million for more than 120 breaches that stretch along the 350-mile-long pipelinewhich crosses 17 counties, crosses 2,700 properties and passes under 1,200 streams or wetlands.

It transports volatile natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale fields in Ohio and western Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook industrial complex in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. a number of consent decrees resulting from citizen lawsuits, and has been completed in Februaryseveral years late.

This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvaniaa collaboration between WESA, The Allegheny Front, WITF and WHYY.

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