Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based company behind several pipeline construction projects in Pennsylvania, has been the subject of multiple criminal and regulatory investigations for some time. Earlier this month it was fined a record $30.6 million for the 2018 Revolution pipeline explosion in western Pennsylvania that destroyed a home but thankfully killed no one. More recently there have been numerous probes into the construction of the 563-km Mariner East 2 pipeline through densely populated counties.
Mariner East 2 is a multi-billion dollar project transporting volatile natural gas liquids from the shale fields of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania to an export facility in Delaware county, ready to ship to Europe to manufacture plastics.
The construction of Mariner East 2 involves horizontal directional drilling (HDD), touted as a minimal impact trenchless method of installing underground pipe along a prescribed path offering 'significant' environmental advantages over traditional cut and cover pipeline installations. But according to the Pennsylvania Capital Star "Mariner East 2 has contaminated surface and groundwater sources in hundreds of mud spills, and created sinkholes in parks, roads and backyards since construction began in early 2017". The construction of the pipeline has therefore sparked protests in the Philadelphia suburbs from concerned neighbors of the pipeline right-of-way.
Despite mounting public opposition and fears about the company’s safety record, emergency plans and alleged criminal wrongdoing, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf refuses to halt the project. The company says the charges and allegations have no merit and therefore there is no reason to halt the project.