December 11, 2018 / 6:50 PM / a year ago

Pennsylvania judge rejects shutting Energy Transfer's Mariner East pipelines

(Reuters) - A Pennsylvania administrative law judge on Tuesday denied a petition by state residents asking utility regulators to prohibit the operation of Energy Transfer LP and its Sunoco subsidiary’s Mariner East pipelines.

The petition filed in November sought interim emergency relief, citing risks from the pipelines in the area and urging the state’s Public Utility Commission to direct Sunoco to stop operation of its Mariner East 1 pipeline and prohibit operation of its Mariner East 2 pipeline.

The residents alleged that the company did “not provide adequate notice of procedures sufficient to ensure the safety of the public in the event of a leak or rupture,” according to the petition.

Judge Elizabeth Barnes ruled that the petitioners presented no evidence of the risk of death from an accidental pipeline leak, and failed to demonstrate a need for immediate relief.

“We are pleased with the judge’s ruling,” Energy Transfer spokeswoman Lisa Dillinger said in an emailed statement, adding that the company expects Mariner East 2 to be put into service by the end of the year.

Mariner East transports liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in western Pennsylvania to customers in the state and elsewhere, including international exports from Energy Transfer’s Marcus Hook complex near Philadelphia.

Mariner East 2 and another Energy Transfer project, the Rover natural gas pipe from Ohio to Michigan, were delayed over the past year in part because the projects together racked up more than 800 state and federal permit violations while the company raced to build them.

Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by G Crosse and Richard Chang

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