In announcing the action on Thursday, the state Department of Environmental Protection said the fine was one of the largest it has ever collected in a single settlement.
Despite the Department of Environmental Protection's $12.6 million civil penalty for the project's many violations, and the company's agreement to do a compliance review, critics said the measures don't ensure Sunoco will meet regulations as it tries to get the natural gas liquids pipeline up and running after a long series of delays.
"The restart of this project is good news for the workers who were idled and hoping for a speedy resolution after construction was halted, and good news for commonwealth residents who are eager to realize the benefits of one of the state's largest infrastructure energy projects", said Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the pro-pipeline Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance.
According to the company's website, Sunoco Pipeline recently completed the Mariner Emergency Responder Outreach (MERO) program for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.
"Throughout the life of this project, DEP has consistently held this operator to the highest standard possible", said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
But developers also must pay a "historic" $12.6 million civil penalty for violating terms of DEP construction permits while building the 300-plus-mile pipeline.
"We are committed to fully complying with the DEP order, which includes following all permit requirements", Shields said.
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Others, however, have rallied behind Sunoco, citing the project's many purported economic benefits. Construction of Mariner East 2 will connect to NGL gathering systems in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.
Pipeline opponents, including Sam Rubin of the Food & Water Watch, were critical of DEP's agreement.
He said the agreement relies on Sunoco's promises to do better, but those have not proved fruitful in the year that Mariner East 2, now scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2018, has been under construction.
The construction permits were suspended in early January for what the DEP labeled "willful and egregious" violations.
"DEP and Sunoco just cut this deal and nothing went before Judge Labuskes so we have no clue as to if this actually means Sunoco is going to change their way of business and start behaving", he said.
Clean Air Council executive director Joe Minott says the DEP is within its right to halt construction.
"DEP really should have reached out to the community", he says, "to see what the community felt DEP needed to do better, before they entered into an agreement with Sunoco".