Pennsylvania DEP fines ETC $30.6M for Revolution Pipeline accident

Published on January 07, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection hit ETC Northeast Pipeline with a $30.6 million fine for violations related to the 2018 Revolution Pipeline explosion and fire.

The penalty is one of the largest civil penalties the state has issued.

The explosion occurred on Sept. 10, 2018, after a landslide in Center Township, Pa., separated a section of the Revolution Pipeline. This allowed gas to escape, which ignited and caused a fire that burned several acres of forest, destroyed a home, a barn, and numerous vehicles. It also resulted in the evacuation of nearby residents and caused six high voltage electric transmission towers to collapse. No one was harmed in this incident.

“ETC’s lack of oversight during construction of the Revolution Pipeline and their failure to comply with DEP’s October 2018 compliance order demanded serious accountability. Their inaction led directly to this unprecedented civil penalty,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said. “DEP is committed to holding permittees accountable for permit compliance and will continue to provide active and stringent oversight over the construction of their projects. Permittees are obligated to ensure that their projects are constructed without incident and in full compliance with permits. If a permittee fails to do so, they will be held accountable.”

Following an investigation, the DEP determined that ETC — a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners — had not stabilized several areas along the pipeline resulting in additional slides. ETC also failed to implement controls to address stormwater runoff. Further, it found that ETC had illegally impacted numerous streams and wetlands along the pipeline right of way during construction.

About $28.6 million of the fine will go to the Oil and Gas Program Fund and Clean Water Fund. This fund bolsters the department’s oversight of oil and gas development statewide, including pipeline projects, and provide financial assistance to water remediation projects across the state. An additional $2 million will go toward environmental projects that will benefit Pennsylvania’s environment.

“DEP will continue to carefully monitor ETC’s activities to ensure that ETC meets the terms of this agreement and all approved permits,” McDonnell said. “The conditions imposed by this agreement seek to ensure that ETC will get this right. Anything less is unacceptable.”