Sunoco Requests Extension on Mariner East II to Address Deficiencies

Sunoco, L.P., owner and operator of the proposed Mariner East II natural gas pipeline project, has been granted an extension by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding the re-submission of their Chapter 105 and 102 permit applications. The company now has until December 7th, 2016, to re-submit their applications with changes stemming from numerous deficiency letters issued by DEP upon receipt of their original application.

Sunoco’s chief executive Michael Hennigan recently blamed the delay of the project’s proposed start date on the permitting process. “It’s a time consuming task, given the number of maps and diagrams,” Hennigan said.

The proposed Mariner East II pipeline would carry highly-pressurized natural gas liquids over 350 miles, across 17 counties in southern Pennsylvania, to the Marcus Hook Refinery terminal near Philadelphia for export to European markets. Originally slated for an early-2017 operational start, Sunoco now claims the pipeline will become operational by the third-quarter of 2017.

As of this writing there are no additional public hearings scheduled once Sunoco re-submits. This is worrisome for those of us that believe in an open and transparent public participation process. The alterations made to Sunoco’s application during this time period could very well result in changes in the proposed route, and without additional opportunity for the public to provide input, the fair and open public process is in many ways nullified.

Although the public comment period for the original applications have long since expired, we urge any concerned citizens to contact your regional DEP office and push for additional 60-day comment periods to begin once Sunoco finally re-submits. With the massive amount of deficiencies identified by the DEP during the first application review process — many of which pointed out by members of the general public during comment sessions — it is vital that we provide the same type of vigilance and scrutiny on the next round of submitted applications.