Energy Transfer LP has been charged with 48 counts of environmental crime for its conduct during construction of the 350-mile Mariner East 2 NGL pipeline system. The charges were filed by the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro based on a criminal referral from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Mariner East 2 crosses 17 counties in southern Pennsylvania. The charges allege that while building the pipeline, Energy Transfer repeatedly allowed thousands of gallons of drilling fluid to escape underground and failed to report the losses of fluid to DEP despite the legal requirement to do so. “Willfully and consistently failing to report” these releases to DEP resulted in the in the sole felony charge issued against the company in this indictment.
The Grand Jury which issued the indictment also found that there were multiple horizontal directional drilling locations at which the drilling fluid contained unapproved additives that entered the state waters.
In August 2020, early estimates said that 8,100 gal of fluid spilled into Marsh Creek Lake in Chester County from an unintentional release. Later estimates have put that number at 21,000-28,000 gal of contaminated fluid. In total, more than 80,000 gal of this fluid were released in and around the lake during the construction of this one segment of the pipeline between 2017 and 2020, according to the Attorney General’s office.
Mariner East 2 entered service in December 2018 with a capacity of 275,000 b/d.