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Greene County pipeline fined $1.5 million

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According to State Impact Pennsylvania, state environment officials in Greene County have levied a $1.5 million (€1.3 million) fine against a natural gas pipeline company due to construction site problems.    

The State Impact Pennsylvania reports that the fine stems from violations that began in October 2017 along the Rice Midstream Holdings’ Beta Trunk Pipeline. The line is 7.5 miles long and connects Aleppo and Richhill townships.   

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) states that water containing sediment such as dirt, soil or clay, overtook erosion controls and flowed into tributaries. According to State Impact Pennsylvania the DEP reported that some of those controls were not properly maintained, or were missing entirely.

DEP spokesperson Lauren Fraley said, “We didn’t see any major impacts to aquatic life.”

“However, sediment pollution is a major issue, and it’s something that we take very seriously,” added Fraley.

Construction temporarily stopped in October of 2017 whilst the problem areas were fixed and in May 2018, the DEP states that three landslides occurred.

“It happened in a rural area of Greene County where there aren’t a lot of homes nearby, but this is something that we have been and will continue to be doing regular inspections of,” Fraley said.

The pipeline is now owned by Equitrans Midstream after a merger last year. A spokesperson for the company told State Impact Pennsylvania that it is committed to responsible operations that will safeguard the environment.

“For this particular case, we wanted to proactively work with the PA DEP to resolve these historical issues and move forward in a compliant manner,” Equitrans Midstream  spokesperson Natalie Cox said.

“We operate with integrity at all times and if something does not achieve the requisite compliance objective, we will take responsibility and do our best to implement the appropriate corrective actions.”