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Revolution Pipeline owner fined $30.6 million over violations

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in the US has issued a $30.6 million (€27.3 million) civil penalty to ETC Northeast Pipeline for violations related to the 2018 Revolution Pipeline explosion and fire.

The fine is one of the largest civil penalties collected in a single settlement, according to the DEP.

“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,” said DEP secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Their inaction led directly to this unprecedented civil penalty.

“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.”

On 10 September 2018, a landslide along the Revolution Pipeline in Center Township, Beaver County caused a section of the pipeline to separate, allowing gas to escape. The gas then ignited, causing a fire that burned several acres of forested areas, destroying one home, a barn and numerous vehicles.

The fire also resulted in the evacuation of nearby residents and caused six high voltage electric transmission towers to collapse. No one was injured in the incident.

The subsequent investigation, which was carried out by DEP, determined that Energy Transfer Partners’ subsidiary ETC had failed to stabilise a number of areas along the pipeline, resulting in additional landslides.

ETC also failed to properly implement or maintain hundreds of best management practice controls to address stormwater runoff. The full investigation found that during construction of the pipeline, ETC had illegally impacted numerous streams and wetlands along the length of the pipeline right of way.

From the penalty, $28.6 million (€25.5 million) will be awarded to the Oil and Gas Program Fund and Clean Water Fund, with an additional $2 million (€1.8 million) going toward a DEP-approved community environmental project 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 added. “The conditions imposed by this agreement seek to ensure that ETC will get this right. Anything less is unacceptable.”