PennFuture Statement on Issuance of Mariner East II Pipeline Permits

(Harrisburg, PA) Feb. 14, 2017 – As Pennsylvania citizens are faced with an increasingly unhealthy climate, PennFuture today expressed grave concerns regarding permits issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that greenlight the Mariner East 2 pipeline, which will exacerbate climate disruption through methane leakage.

The construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline is slated to carry natural gas through 17 counties across the state. The newly constructed pipeline would travel from Marcellus and Utica Shale fields to Sunoco’s Marcus Hook export terminal, where its gas is expected to be shipped to Scotland for plastics manufacturing. 

“I am more than disappointed that the DEP has approved this pipeline. It makes no sense to construct a massive new pipeline to transport 275,000 barrels of gas liquids to export markets in the face of a global climate crisis,” said PennFuture CEO Larry Schweiger. “With the Pennsylvania legislature and Congress preventing efforts to control methane leakage, frack gas is no better than coal and possibly worse from a greenhouse gas standpoint. We cannot solve the many emerging threats from unprecedented floods, mega-forest fires, and record-breaking severe storms by building more and more carbon-polluting infrastructure.” 

The pipeline will cross numerous streams and wetlands, some of which have been assigned special protections under state law.  

“When will banks and other major investors understand that these fossil fuel capital assets will soon be stranded costs as the world is forced to end carbon pollution? When will the agencies charged with protecting the environment understand the enormous threat that this constitutes?” Schweiger said.

Sunoco submitted incomplete and insufficient applications for the pipeline during the summer of 2016. PennFuture, along with other environmental groups, submitted comments outlining these deficiencies to DEP. 

DEP issued technical deficiency letters to Sunoco, requiring the company to resubmit its applications, which occurred in early December; however, DEP did not provide an additional opportunity for public comment.  

“Although the permit applications are incredibly voluminous and technical, we think those resubmitted applications are still insufficient,” said Alice R. Baker, PennFuture Staff Attorney.  “We are encouraged to see a prompt appeal of these permits filed before the Environmental Hearing Board yesterday.”

PennFuture is leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. For more information, visit www.pennfuture.org.

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