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Sunoco Says Mariner East 1 Is Safe, But State Officials Say To Slow Down

Jon Hurdle
StateImpact Pennsylvania
Workers and contractors for Sunoco Pipeline investigate geological conditions behind homes at Lisa Drive in West Whiteland Township.

More than a month after the Mariner East 1 pipeline was shut down over safety concerns, representatives for Sunoco say they’ve found no problems, and that they’re looking forward to getting the natural gas liquids pipeline running again.

But state officials say they’re not making any decisions to put the Mariner East 1 back in service yet.

Problems with the pipeline began late last year when a rash of sinkholes began opening up nearby. In early March, the state Public Utility Commission ordered that it be shut down.

The concern, officials said, is that the unstable ground, plus nearby construction on the Mariner East 2 pipeline, could be a threat to public safety.

Now, Sunoco is saying it has finished testing the area, and found there is no safety issue.

Spokeswoman Lisa Dillinger said Sunoco looks "forward to closing this out with the PUC and returning the line to service.”

But PUC Spokesman Nils Hagen-Frederiksen said investigations are going to continue, regardless of Sunoco’s findings, because the commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement hasn’t reached a verdict.

“The commission has made it very clear that service will not be reinstated until the concerns raised by I&E have been addressed,” he said.

There is currently no timeline for restarting Mariner East 1 operations.