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Deal Will Allow Work To Resume On Sunoco Pipeline Across Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- There's a deal in place between environmental groups and Sunoco addressing continued construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline across Pennsylvania.

The accord, approved by a judge on the state's Environmental Hearing Board, addresses the horizontal drilling method of construction, not ongoing concerns over 20 water permits issued by the state.

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Alex Bomstein, an attorney with the Clean Air Council, says it will allow some work on the pipeline to resume, while other parts of the project will have to be reviewed by state environmental officials.

"We still have concerns going forward about the safety of it," Bomstein told KYW Newsradio. "However, we believe it is a lot safer now due to the settlement than it was before we made this agreement."

Residents affected will be better informed and there'll also be more well water testing.

"There are also a number of changes that have been made to the construction plans to make them both safer when the pipe is being built and also safer as things go wrong," he added.

Among those hailing the accord is Chester County State Senator Andy Dinniman, a longtime critic of the project.

"It will offer further protection, especially for those who depend on their own wells," Dinniman said. "The question is why wasn't this done in the first place?"

Sunoco officials issued a statement shortly after the accord was approved.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement that will allow us to proceed with horizontal directional drilling on the Mariner East 2 pipeline in a manner that demonstrates our commitment to the Commonwealth and our neighbors to protect Pennsylvania's natural resources during construction. We will continue to adhere to the strict conditions of our permits, including the enhanced standards for planning, outreach and reporting.  The agreement will put hundreds of workers back on the job as we complete this transformational infrastructure project," the company said.

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