Howard pleased to see pipeline operator convicted of criminal charges

Has also introduced legislation to increase penalties

MALVERN, Aug. 8 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, said today she was pleased to see Sunoco Pipeline LP, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer, convicted of criminal charges related to its conduct during the construction of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline, which crosses through Chester County.

According to the Office of Attorney General, as part of a plea agreement, Energy Transfer will pay for independent evaluations of potential water quality impact for homeowners near the Mariner East 2 Pipeline; offer approved mechanisms for restoring or replacing the impacted private water supplies; have an independent, professional geologist review water testing and advise on water quality; and pay $10 million toward projects to improve the health and safety of the water sources.

“The people of Chester County have waited a long time for this,” Howard said. “Energy Transfer Partners has a long history of mistakes and violations and have a complete disregard for both the environment and health and well-being of the people of Pennsylvania. As one of my very first acts in office in January 2019, I called on Attorney General Josh Shapiro to investigate ETP and I am pleased to see a conviction in this case.”

In October 2021, following an 18-month investigation, Energy Transfer Partners was charged with 48 counts of environmental crimes, including a felony charge for “willfully and consistently” failing to report inadvertent releases to the Department of Environmental Protection.

A grand jury learned that during the construction of the pipeline, Sunoco Pipeline LP repeatedly allowed thousands of gallons of drilling fluid to escape underground, sometimes surfacing onto fields, backyards, streams, lakes and wetlands. The company also failed to report these losses to DEP.

In response to these violations, Howard said she believes stronger punishments are needed to prevent this from happening again. She has introduced the following bills to increase penalties on polluters and given the attorney general power to prosecute:

  • House Bill 2323: Would double the maximum fines for both general and willful violations and prohibit the DEP from waiving fines issued against oil and gas companies.
  • House Bill 2117:  Would amend the Solid Waste Management Act to provide the attorney general with concurrent jurisdiction in related environmental crimes.
  • House Bill 2118: Would amend The Clean Streams Law to provide the attorney general with concurrent jurisdiction in related environmental crimes. 
  • House Bill 2119: Would amend the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act to provide the attorney general with concurrent jurisdiction in related environmental crimes. 

“I look forward to working with our General Assembly to move this legislation forward and hold responsible parties accountable for their actions, especially when it endangers the health and safety of Pennsylvanians.”