Judge halts Sunoco pipeline work in eastern Pennsylvania

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) -  An environmental hearing board judge has ordered a two-week halt to horizontal directional drilling in Pennsylvania on a natural gas pipeline pending a hearing next month.

The order Tuesday halts such drilling at 55 sites for the Mariner East 2 pipeline until the Aug. 7 hearing before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board. 
 
The $2.5 billion, 350-mile (563-kilometer) pipeline across southern Pennsylvania is to carry propane, butane and ethane from the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation to an export terminal near Philadelphia. Horizontal directional drilling is used to tunnel beneath waterways and other obstructions.
 
Sunoco Pipeline spokesman Jeff Shields said the hearing "will demonstrate that we have expended every effort to meet the strict conditions of our environmental permits" and non-horizontal directional drilling construction will continue "with safety and protection of Pennsylvania's environment as our first priorities."
 
 
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