Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced on Twitter Tuesday that his office has opened an investigation into the Mariner East II pipeline project that runs across the state, including Cumberland County.
Office of Attorney General spokesman Joe Grace confirmed the investigation has been opened on a referral from Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland. No other information about the investigation was available Tuesday.
“We will leave no stone unturned in this case ... as we fight to protect [Pennsylvanians],” Shapiro said in a tweet.
Sunoco and its infrastructure parent company, Energy Transfer Partners, installed Mariner East II, the 20-inch pipeline, across the state and is operating the pipeline, though not without pushback from residents — including one from Cumberland County who has filed a lawsuit — and concerns from environmentalists after multiple reports of violations from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, said in a statement that the investigation, and push for an investigation from Copeland and Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan, is more about their re-election this year than any issue with the pipeline.
“These investigations have nothing to do with a legally permitted pipeline project and everything to do with the politics of candidates seeking re-election,” Knaus said in an emailed statement. “This isn’t about public safety or the environment as much as it’s about garnering as much media attention as possible on a high-profile issue during an election year. The record here is clear: This is a legally permitted project that underwent years of intense regulatory and public scrutiny.”
In Cumberland County, Energy Transfer Partners is installing a 16-inch Mariner East IIX pipeline that will also follow the pathway of the original Mariner East I line, with all three lines slated to carry liquefied gasses to the Marcus Hook facility near Philadelphia for processing into usable natural gas.
The company previously announced it will close Appalachian Drive in Silver Spring Township from May to near the end of June while construction crews cut through the road to lay pipe for the new pipeline.