Pennsylvania permits halted for Texas-based pipeline company

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) – Pennsylvania is halting construction permits for natural gas pipelines operated by a company whose pipeline exploded last year, as the Governor said on Friday that Energy Transfer LP has failed to respect the state’s laws and communities.

The state Department of Environmental Protection said the Texas-based company is not fixing problems related to the explosion, and piled yet another penalty onto a company project in the state.

State agencies already have imposed millions of dollars in fines and several temporary shutdown orders on Energy Transfer projects, while a county prosecutor is demanding documents from the company.

The methane gas explosion destroyed one home in Beaver County last September along the Beaver-to-Butler County pipeline. The Dallas-based firm blamed the blast on “earth movement in the vicinity of the pipeline”.

“There has been a failure by Energy Transfer and its subsidiaries to respect our laws and our communities,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement on Friday. “This is not how we strive to do business in Pennsylvania, and it will not be tolerated.”

The Department of Environmental Protection said Energy Transfer hasn’t stabilised the soil and erosion around its Revolution pipeline in western Pennsylvania, as it was ordered to do in October.

As a result, it is halting construction permits on the company’s pipelines in the state, it said.

“This hold will continue until the operator corrects their violations to our satisfaction,” Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement.

Energy Transfer said it told state officials that it is committed to bringing the Revolution pipeline “into full compliance with all environmental permits and applicable regulations”.