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>> For years.>> We feel that we've been bullied, lied to, and treated unfairly.>> Extant Pennsylvania residents Jerry and Nancy McMullen are worried about the natural gas pipeline that's going to run through their backyard. And their town, located an hour's drive west of Philadelphia.>> It's a living nightmare.
>> And it's not just the McMullens. Fear is spreading across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Where two of America's biggest US natural gas and natural gas liquids pipeline projects are underway, why the concern? The company behind the deconstruction, Sunoco. And its parent, Energy Transfer Partners, or ETP, have been fined more than $15 million for safety violations.
Reuters Energy Correspondent Stephanie Kelly is back from a trip to the area.>> ETP has racked up more than 700 state and federal regulatory violations. And compared to other projects of similar sized pipelines, that's one of the most egregious safety records right now.>> The company has spilled millions of gallons of drilling fluid.
And has been blamed for the sudden appearance of sinkholes in backyards like this one. Some homes in the neighborhood were forced to evacuate. The ground so dangerous, this is as close as we could get. ETP, which has seen rapid growth along with the meteoric rise of the US natural gas industry, is now once of the country's biggest pipeline operators.
Its spotty safety record is threatening to derail the entire industry.>> So because of the violations, state officials are seeking to tighten regulations on pipeline permits going forward. Or pipeline projects going forward. And obviously, with tighter regulations and additional scrutiny. That could damage an industry that is really growing, in the Midwest especially.
>> A spokeswoman for ETP says, quote, we remain fully committed to the safe construction and operation of all our projects. That means little to the McMullens.>> They haven't done anything to earn our trust, and we don't trust them.