Sunoco Lo­gis­tics plan en­coun­ters de­lay

Com­pany needs more time to com­plete per­mit process

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Alex Rose arose@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @arosedelco on Twit­ter

Sunoco Lo­gis­tics Part­ners has asked the Penn­syl­va­nia De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion for a one-month ex­ten­sion to re­spond to iden­ti­fied is­sues with its Mariner East 2 pipe­line ap­pli­ca­tion pack­age.

“Ba­si­cally, we asked for an ex­ten­sion from Nov. 7 to Dec. 7 to com­plete our re­sponse to the DEP as part of the per­mit­ting process,” said com­pany spokesman Jef­frey Shields Fri­day. “There’s a lot of de­tail and we want to make sure that we get all their re­quests an­swered.”

Shields said the re­quest would likely push back the com­ple­tion and start-up date for the 350mile pipe­line from mid-2017 to the third quar­ter of 2017.

The Mariner East 2 would cross 17 coun­ties in the state to trans­port nat­u­ral gas liq­uids in­clud­ing propane, eth­ane and bu­tane from Ohio, West Vir­ginia and western Penn­syl­va­nia to the Mar­cus Hook In­dus­trial Com­plex for pro­cess­ing and trans­port over­seas.

The $2.5 bil­lion project, which in­cludes 11.4 miles of pipe­line run­ning through Edg­mont, Mid­dle­town, As­ton and Up­per Chich­ester, also has sev­eral de­liv­ery points in the lower half of the state. An ini­tial 20-inch pipe­line would de­liver ap­prox­i­mately 275,000 bar­rels per day but could ramp up to 450,000 bar­rels, ac­cord­ing to Sunoco. An op­tional sec­ondary 16-inch pipe­line could also de­liver an ad­di­tional 250,000 bar­rels per day.

The project has re­ceived sig-

nif­i­cant push­back from res­i­dents across Penn­syl­va­nia and spurred mul­ti­ple law­suits to halt con­struc­tion. The DEP fur­ther hin­dered the pro­posal when it pointed to hun­dreds of is­sues in Sunoco’s per­mit­ting ap­pli­ca­tions in Septem­ber.

In a 21-page doc­u­ment for the Delaware County por­tion of the plan posted to the DEP web­site Sept. 6, Dams and Water­ways Chief John Ho­hen­stein iden­ti­fied is­sues with ero­sion plans, stream cross­ings and miss­ing or mis­la­beled tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion that will need to be cor­rected be­fore per­mits can be is­sued.

Sunoco Lo­gis­tics Pres­i­dent and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mike Hen­ni­gan cited these per­mit­ting is­sues and a “sig­nif­i­cant de­vi­a­tion” from the orig­i­nal tim­ing of the project dur­ing an in­vestor call for third-quar­ter earn­ings Thurs­day.

“The de­tail in­volved in the PA DEP per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion has ne­ces­si­tated a longer-than-an­tic­i­pated reg­u­la­tory re­view process, but we are con­vinced that this project will be en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble and will be cre­at­ing sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the commonwealth,” he said, ac­cord­ing to a tran­script of the call pro­vided by in­dus­try web­site seekingal­pha. com.

“We re­main op­ti­mistic and look for­ward to the next phase of the project where ap­prox­i­mately 10,000 con­struc­tion jobs will be im­ple­mented,” Hen­ni­gan con­tin­ued. “We be­lieve this project is the largest in­vest­ment in the Commonwealth of Penn­syl­va­nia to date, cre­at­ing fam­ily-sus­tain­ing jobs and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, and a mech­a­nism to move Penn­syl­va­nia nat­u­ral resources through­out the state.”

Mar­cus Hook-based Braskem Amer­ica, the North Amer­i­can branch of a ma­jor Brazil­ian petro­chem­i­cal com­pany, re­cently de­cided to ex­pand op­er­a­tions at its plant in La Porte, Texas, over its Delaware County fa­cil­ity, cit­ing a lack of lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture. “We’ve been say­ing for a long time that pipe­line in­fra­struc­ture is crit­i­cal to the growth of the econ­omy in south­west Penn­syl­va­nia and we think these projects are the cat­a­clysm for the econ­omy to grow,” said Shields.

He did not of­fer an opin­ion on whether the re­cent pres­i­den­tial elec­tion would also boost in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, though the Dow Jones soared to a record high last week, sig­nal­ing in­dus­try in gen­eral is bullish on Don­ald Trump’s in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Philadel­phia-based Econ­sult So­lu­tions, Inc. con­ducted a study for Sunoco last year that found the Mariner East project is ex­pected to add up to $4.2 bil­lion to the state’s econ­omy, sup­port­ing more than 30,000 di­rect and in­di­rect jobs dur­ing con­struc­tion and 300 to 400 per­ma­nent jobs once com­pleted.

Still, groups op­posed to the pipe­line’s con­struc­tion have concerns about en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship and per­sonal safety.

“We’re just wait­ing for a disas­ter to hap­pen,” said Alex Bom­stein, a se­nior at­tor­ney with the Clean Air Coun­sel. “It’s re­ally just a mat­ter of when.”

A Reuters anal­y­sis of gov­ern­ment data in Septem­ber showed Sunoco tops the list of U.S. crude oil spills with 200 leaks since 2010, though most of those were at fa­cil­i­ties and there­fore eas­ily con­tained.

The CAC is one of the groups fight­ing the Mariner East project in fed­eral court, where it claims Sunoco is at­tempt­ing to shoe­horn the new pipe­line into long­stand­ing ease­ments granted across the state for un­re­lated projects.

Some res­i­dents of Mid­dle­town re­cently ac­cused Sunoco of us­ing those ease­ments to bully mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties into ap­prov­ing new con­struc­tion or­di­nances to lay pipe. Bom­stein noted the town­ship nonethe­less agreed to al­low the pipe­line to run within 1,000 feet of an ele­men­tary school.

He also pointed to two re­cent spills in Penn­syl­va­nia to un­der­line his concerns, not­ing one re­quired evac­u­at­ing a five-mile area in Cam­bria and the other dumped 55,000 gal­lons of gaso­line into a trib­u­tary of the Susque­hanna River.

“As the DEP is con­sid­er­ing wa­ter per­mits for the pipe­line, that should be present in their minds,” Bom­stein said.

RICK KAUFF­MAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

These new stor­age tanks at the Mar­cus Hook In­dus­trial Com­plex could store more than 2 mil­lion bar­rels of nat­u­ral gas liq­uids when the Mariner East 2 pipe­line is com­plete.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

The Marine East 2 pipe­line would carry eth­ane, bu­tane and propane from the Mar­cel­lus Shale por­tion of Penn­syl­va­nia to the old Sunoco re­fin­ery in Mar­cus Hook. The plan is be­ing her­alded as part of a push to make the Mar­cus Hook In­dus­trial Com­plex the en­ergy hub of the en­tire North­east, but has en­coun­tered vo­cif­er­ous com­mu­nity op­po­si­tion.

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