Company faces criminal charges for pipeline explosion | Your money

An energy company already accused of violating Pennsylvania environmental laws while building a multibillion-dollar pipeline system faces more legal trouble after prosecutors filed a new criminal case on Wednesday alleging that its negligence led to the explosion of another pipeline near Pittsburgh.

ETC Northeast Pipeline LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Energy Transfer LP, has botched construction of the Revolution Pipeline, a 42-mile pipeline that connects Butler County to a natural gas processing plant in Washington County, according to the attorney general’s office. The company was charged with nine counts under the state’s clean stream law.

A 2018 landslide along the pipeline route in Beaver County triggered a gas explosion and fire that destroyed a home, barn and several cars, collapsed six high-voltage transmission towers and prompted an evacuation . The family whose home was destroyed awoke with a loud roar and saw a “brilliant orange glow as day” but managed to escape, a grand jury wrote in a report released Wednesday.

The pipeline broke down just two weeks after it went into service. An investigation revealed that the landslide was triggered by ETC’s failure to install adequate erosion control equipment at the hillside site.

“The explosion occurred due to Energy Transfer’s negligence during the construction of the Revolution pipeline,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a written statement.

Energy Transfer said it was eager to resolve the matter. A conviction could result in fines and restitution.

The charges “do not surprise us, as they are not new or additional claims,” ​​said company spokeswoman Vicki Granado. She said Energy Transfer had discussed the matter with Shapiro’s office “and will continue to work with them and look forward to resolving these issues.”

The state Department of Environmental Protection previously imposed a $30 million civil penalty on Energy Transfer after determining the company violated numerous regulations during the construction of the Revolution pipeline.

The financial penalty was part of a 2020 settlement agreement between the environmental agency and ETC in which the state agreed to lift a building permit moratorium it had imposed on Energy Transfer nearly a year over. early.

This allowed the company to resume construction of its much larger Mariner East pipeline system, which carries natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale gas field in western Pennsylvania to an export terminal near Philadelphia.

In October, Shapiro filed 48 charges against Energy Transfer, accusing the company of illegally dumping industrial waste at 22 sites in 11 counties during the construction of Mariner East. Shapiro said the power transfer ruined drinking water for at least 150 families statewide. A spill of thousands of gallons of drilling fluid has contaminated wetlands, a creek and part of a 535-acre lake at Marsh Creek State Park outside of Philadelphia.

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This story has been corrected to show that charges were filed on Wednesday, not Tuesday.


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