Energy Transfer LP (ET) affiliates have reached a plea deal and accepted criminal charges related to the Mariner East 2 (ME2) and Revolution pipeline projects in Pennsylvania, resolving cases brought by state Attorney General (AG) Josh Shapiro since last year.

Energy Transfer

ET affiliates pleaded no contest to 23 counts against both pipelines without admitting guilt. Another 34 counts were dropped.

Under the plea deal, ET agreed to pay for independent evaluations of potential water quality impacts for homeowners affected by ME 2 construction. The company has also offered to restore or replace private water supplies. 

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Shapiro, a Democratic candidate for governor, said Friday ET would pay an additional $10 million to improve “the health and safety” of water sources along the pipeline routes. ET said in a statement that the $10 million fund was a voluntary collaboration with the state, noting that the fines levied against it related to the cases were limited to $57,500. 

“It is always our priority to work in a manner that lawfully complies with all applicable rules and regulations,” the company said. “Our focus remains on the safe operation of our pipelines and related facilities that run throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This important infrastructure is critical to Pennsylvania’s economy and to ensuring our country’s energy independence.”

The AG’s office last October filed 48 counts of environmental crimes for misconduct during construction of the ME 2 natural gas liquids pipeline, which crosses the entire state. Earlier this year, Shapiro filed nine counts of environmental crimes against the company for failing to properly oversee construction of the Revolution natural gas pipeline in Western Pennsylvania, which ruptured and exploded in 2018. 

A statewide grand jury investigation determined that ET repeatedly allowed thousands of gallons of drilling fluid to escape underground during ME 2 construction. The project was completed earlier this year, five years after work started. 

It was stymied by regulatory, legal and construction delays. Sinkholes, leaks and water well problems disrupted neighborhoods and prompted state regulators to periodically halt work on the project. The company paid millions in fines

The grand jury investigation also found that an ET affiliate allegedly ignored environmental protocols and custom plans that were created to minimize erosion and the possibility of a landslide, which ultimately led to the Revolution explosion. 

The incident in Beaver County’s Center Township scorched nearby forests, destroyed a home, barn and vehicles, and caused six high voltage electric transmission towers to collapse. There were no injuries. The pipeline returned to service last year. 

Both systems were constructed to move growing volumes from the Marcellus and Utica shales.