Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Another Sinkhole Opens Along Controversial Mariner East Pipeline Route

Energy
Another Sinkhole Opens Along Controversial Mariner East Pipeline Route
Part of the Sunoco Mariner East pipeline network in Pennsylvania. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

Sunoco's controversial Mariner East pipeline project in Pennsylvania is beginning 2019 on unstable ground, literally. A sinkhole opened in the suburban development of Lisa Drive in Chester County Sunday, exposing the old Mariner East 1 pipeline built in the 1930s.


Sunoco, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, repurposed the older pipeline to carry up to 70,000 barrels of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region to a refinery in Marcus Hook each day. It was shut off for two months in 2018 when sinkholes developed in the same development, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

John Mattia lives 60 feet from the new sinkhole, which is about five feet wide by 10 feet deep.

"I find it alarming to say the least that in an area that they say they already remediated there is a new sinkhole," Mattia told StateImpact Pennsylvania. "To have this happen again and to expose the pipeline completely, I find despicable."

Sunoco has said that there was "no impact" to the pipeline from the sinkhole. However, it agreed to shut down the pipeline and purge it of natural gas while the subsidence is filled in. The Public Utilities Commission's (PUC) Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement said Sunday the pipeline would not be able to restart without its approval.

The incident comes four months after another Energy Transfer Partners pipeline exploded in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, possibly because of a landslide.

"This needs to be shut down immediately for the safety of the public. The pipeline explosion that happened in Beaver County in September 2018 was also due to ground subsidence. This area has not been stabilized for over 15 months at this point," Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety wrote in a Facebook post announcing the incident.

Del Chesco United for Pipeline Safety spokesman Eric Friedman told The Philadelphia Inquirer that locals had long had concerns about how the geology of the area would accommodate pipelines.

"It's riddled with caves of various sizes," Friedman said. "It's unstable. The area has problems with roads sinking.... This is an area, frankly, that was recognized by citizens' groups as a geologically problematic area.... It seems like everyone knew this was going to be a problem except Sunoco and the PUC."

Sunoco and Energy Transfer Partners have faced criticism for their handling of the Mariner East pipeline project, which includes Mariner East 1, Mariner East 2, completed in late 2018 and Mariner East 2X, to be completed at the end of 2019.

In December of 2018, Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan opened a criminal investigation into the Mariner East pipeline over the sinkholes, water contamination and bullying of local community members.

State Senator Andy Dinniman told the opportunity to call for an investigation, casting doubt on the PUC decision to restart the pipeline last year after the first sinkholes appeared.

"What we'd have to do with the legislature or the executive branch of government is have a total review of this pipeline and to have that review done by an independent authority who has nothing to do with either Sunoco or the Public Utility Commission," Dinniman said, as ABC 6 reported.

Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth on April 2, 2012 in Western Australia. James D. Morgan / Getty Images News

By Dana M Bergstrom, Euan Ritchie, Lesley Hughes and Michael Depledge

In 1992, 1,700 scientists warned that human beings and the natural world were "on a collision course." Seventeen years later, scientists described planetary boundaries within which humans and other life could have a "safe space to operate." These are environmental thresholds, such as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and changes in land use.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

Trending

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less
New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less