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Latest Settlement Between DEP and ETC Addresses Revolution Pipeline Stability Concerns, Commits ETC to Corrective Actions

03/01/2021

Pittsburgh, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it has executed a consent order and agreement (COA) with ETC Northeast Pipeline, LLC (ETC) which owns and operates the Revolution Pipeline, a 40.5-mile natural gas gathering pipeline that crosses Butler, Beaver, Allegheny, and Washington counties. This COA addresses the construction and monitoring of steep slopes along the pipeline right of way and allows for ETC to put the pipeline into service, subject to any requirements by other regulatory agencies.

This settlement includes a $125,000 civil penalty assessment and resolves a November 11, 2020 administrative order by DEP that prevented ETC from putting natural gas into steep portions of the pipeline that ETC had not adequately investigated and required ETC to submit a complete preparedness, prevention, and contingency (PPC) plan.

On December 4, 2020, ETC submitted a revised PPC Plan that describes how the contents of the Revolution Pipeline would be removed in a safe and environmentally protective manner prior to permanent stabilization in the event of leak, release, or catastrophic incident like a landslide. ETC also demonstrated that all steep slope areas identified in the order currently meet the factor of safety DEP required.

DEP had previously documented numerous unstable slopes and numerous landslides have occurred along the pipeline right of way. Most notably on September 10, 2018, a landslide occurred along the Revolution Pipeline in Center Township, Beaver County that caused a break in a section of the pipeline that allowed methane gas to escape. The gas ignited, causing a fire that burned several acres of forested areas; destroyed a single-family home, a barn, and numerous vehicles; resulted in the evacuation of nearby residents; and caused six high voltage electric transmission towers to collapse. 

ETC appealed DEP’s November 2020 order to the Environmental Hearing Board. As required in the COA, ETC filed a stipulation of settlement with the Board and sent DEP notice that the pipeline would be placed into service as of March 1, 2021.   

This COA includes corrective actions that ETC must undertake, including construction addressing drainage issues along steep slopes, submission of a revised permanent stabilization plan to provide for continuous stability monitoring of the “Penny Hollow Site,” and daily monitoring of this site and immediate notification of land movement to DEP until continuous monitors are installed.

The $125,000 civil penalty will go into the Oil and Gas Program Fund. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Fraley, 412-442-4203
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