HARRISBURG (January 3, 2020) – State Senator Andy Dinniman today issued the following statement in response to news that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued a $30.6 million civil penalty to ETC Northeast Pipeline for violations related to the 2018 Revolution Pipeline explosion and fire in Beaver County.

As part of the agreement, DEP will lift the nearly year-long permit bar currently in place and will accept new permits and act on other pending requests.

“No amount of money, no matter how large, addresses the fundamental and ongoing problem with pipeline construction and siting in Pennsylvania and that is the complete lack of oversight and accountability.

There’s no independent inspection of pipeline construction. There’s no regulation of pipeline placement or siting. And there is no agency that is either willing or able to work to ensure pipeline construction and safety standards. Neither the DEP nor the PUC appears to want to get involved until something goes drastically wrong.

In fact, currently, more approvals and permits are required to build a deck in your backyard then is needed for a pipeline company to run a hazardous natural gas liquids pipeline through your yard.

Most recently, in response to an inquiry regarding pipeline construction in Exton that deviated from an approved permit, DEP’s staff outright admitted, ‘We don’t regulate the construction of the pipeline.’ 

As a result, I call upon the governor in his upcoming budget address to strongly reaffirm his previously stated support for a series of bills that I and others have introduced to provide the type of protection, oversight, emergency management and notification, and supervision of pipeline construction and operation that is absolutely necessary to help ensure public safety.

And I call upon legislative leaders to immediately move these bills forward.”

You can view the legislative package of bipartisan pipeline bills here.