Secret grand jury proceedings are underway in Chester County regarding Energy Transfer LP’s management of the Mariner East pipeline project.

The grand jury only came to light because an editor for the Delaware County Times found himself a potential juror for the prosecutor-led investigation, which have the ability to issue subpoenas and recommend charges.

Although editor Phil Heron was excused due to his work with the Delco paper, he was told that the assembling of the grand jury was not itself private—hence, his column and this article.

In December, Chester County District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan (R) announced a criminal investigation into Energy Transfer LP’s construction of the pipelines. As StateImpact PA points out, Hogan also hired a former federal prosecutor to work on the investigation. Hogan would not confirm or deny the grand jury’s existence to StateImpact PA.

Mariner East 1 and Mariner East 2 cross the southern portion of Lebanon County.

Mariner East 1 has been shut down since late January following a sinkhole that exposed portions of the pipeline in Chester County. In February, Governor Tom Wolf suspended the state’s review process for clean water permit applications by Energy Transfer LP.

In general, pipeline construction has disturbed fragile karst formations that undergird much of Pennsylvania’s terra firma, making the terra less firma. Residents living near the pipeline have said they are terrified, and some residents in West Cornwall have already reported well water contamination.


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