Howard supports AG’s criminal charges against pipeline operator, seeks increased penalties

MALVERN, Oct. 5 – PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed 48 comprehensive criminal charges against Energy Transfer Partners following an 18-month investigation. These charges include a felony charge for “willfully and consistently” failing to report inadvertent releases to the Department of Environmental Protection.

“These charges have been a long time coming,” state Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, said. “On January 24, 2019, as one of my first acts in office, I called on Attorney General Shapiro to investigate ETP.

“I see this move as the best way to hold ETP responsible for their long history of mistakes and violations. By filing these charges, the attorney general has not only named ETP as a bad actor, but a downright criminally bad actor with a complete disregard for both the environment and the people of Pennsylvania.”

The charges against ETP include 45 counts of releasing industrial waste at 22 sites across 11 counties, one for using unapproved additives in drilling fluid and one for contaminating local water supplies, as well as a felony charge for failure to report the releases.

“I agree with the attorney general that fines are not enough,” Howard said. “Last January, in the wake of DEP’s issuance of $30.6 million in fines to ETP for violations related to the 2018 Revolution Pipeline explosion and fire, I said I was underwhelmed, and that ‘fines like this are little more than the cost of doing business for multi-billion-dollar companies like Energy Transfer Partners. And the lifting of the longstanding permit ban is a tremendously unwarranted leap of faith in a company that has consistently shown itself a bad actor.’

“I look forward to working with Attorney General Shapiro to sponsor, support and vote for legislation that increases penalties on polluters to a level that gets their attention and curbs their bad faith and criminal behavior.”