Mariner East fined again as another spill fouls state park

 A Texas pipeline company that has been heavily penalized in Pennsylvania has been fined another $355,000 for polluting waterways in eight counties during construction of a pipeline to carry natural gas liquids, state environmental officials announced Thursday.

The Department of Environmental Protection said a subsidiary of Energy Transfer LP discharged drilling wastewater into creeks, wetlands and tributaries in Berks, Blair, Cambria, Cumberland, Delaware, Lebanon, Washington and Westmoreland counties between August 2018 and April 2019.

The announcement of the civil settlement came as Energy Transfer deals with yet another spill along its troubled Mariner East pipeline network in southern Pennsylvania.

Last week, an Energy Transfer subsidiary, Sunoco Pipeline LP, spilled 8,100 gallons of drilling fluid into wetlands and a tributary of Marsh Creek Lake in Chester County, according to the DEP. About 33 acres of the 535-acre lake, located in Marsh Creek State Park, were placed off limits to boating and fishing during cleanup.

DEP halted drilling at the site and said it anticipates additional fines and “other regulatory ramifications.”

Energy Transfer did not immediately comment.

Sunoco has been hit with millions of dollars in fines and several temporary shutdown orders during construction of its Mariner East pipelines, primarily because of polluted waterways and drinking water wells.

Mariner East has been the subject of at least two criminal investigations, although a judge last month dismissed bribery and other charges in Chester County against a company security manager in what prosecutors called a “buy-a-badge” scheme to illegally use uniformed state constables as a private security force to patrol the Mariner East pipelines.

RELATED: Thousands of gallons of drilling mud spills into lake from Mariner East pipeline project, DEP says


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