Pennsylvania Lawmaker Opposed To Pipeline Took Money From Company Suing It

REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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A Pennsylvania state senator opposing a pipeline project in his district has accepted nearly $80,000 in campaign donations from a developer suing the energy company behind the project.

Democratic state Sen. Andy Dinniman is one of the chief opponents to the Mariner East pipeline project by the energy company Sunoco. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Blames Pipeline That Hasn’t Been Built Yet For An Oil Spill)

Dinniman took a shot at the energy project Wednesday on Twitter and pointed out that companies interested in the project’s completion have spent millions lobbying in Pennsylvania.

Dinniman’s campaign for years has been backed by the real estate developer Hankin Group, another principal party opposing the pipeline. The Hankin Group filed a lawsuit against Sunoco in February to force the energy company off four Hankin Group properties where the pipeline is being constructed.

Dinniman has accepted $79,273 from the Hankin Group since 2006, according to Pennsylvania state finance forms first reported on the website Natural Gas Now. Hankin was Dinniman’s second highest contributor from 2014 to 2018, according to Natural Gas Now.

“Pipeline industry mouthpieces are trying to deflect and divert attention from the controversial and problematic Mariner East pipeline project – a project that is going so poorly, it’s giving the entire industry a bad name. The connection they’re attempting to make here is nonexistent,” Dinniman told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.

“The Hankin lawsuit they point to was the result of Sunoco/ET’s own bad business practices in breaching an easement agreement. That was a matter of private property rights – not being ‘pro- or anti-pipeline.’ Furthermore, it was settled between the parties. It is a nonissue. The fact is: there is no way I could have influenced any of that anyway,” Dinniman said.

The pipeline has been plagued by a series of setbacks, some related to local opposition such as the Hankin lawsuit and some related to the poor condition of an old pipeline that Sunoco is working to replace as part of the project.

The old pipeline, called Mariner East 1, has been blamed for sinkholes that have appeared in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and the pipeline has also experienced leaks in the past as the pipe corrodes, according to the Pennsylvania Post-Gazette.

Dinniman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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