A number of Lebanon County business have filed bankruptcy claims against the contractor previously responsible for Atlantic Sunrise and Mariner East construction in the region.
Welded Construction (a subsidiary of the country’s largest construction company, Bechtel) went bankrupt in October after Atlantic Sunrise owner Williams Companies withheld a $23 million payment, triggering a liquidity crisis. According to reports, Williams alleged that Welded breached its contract with overcharges and improper record keeping. Welded describes itself as one of the biggest mainline pipeline contractors in the world.
The withheld payment left Welded with less than a million in cash and caused customers to alter or terminate contracts, including Energy Transfer Partners, owners of the Mariner East pipeline, which alleged noncompliance with environment regulations, according to a report by Construction Dive.
Kurtzman Carson Consultants is collecting bankruptcy claims against Welded through the close of business on February 28. Lebanon County companies represented in the claims database right now include:
- Jono Ace Hardware in Jonestown for $48,122.48
- Ebersole in Lebanon for $1,474.74
- Pennsy Supply in Annville for $128,141.90
- Miller and Bixler Autoparts in Lebanon for $32,239.08
The total claims amount is above $225,000 right now, with that number possibly to rise by the end of the month as bankruptcy proceedings are ongoing.
The issue was brought to the Lebanon County Commissioners yesterday by the advocacy group Lebanon Pipeline Awareness.
One idea discussed at the meeting was requiring companies obtain surety bonds that would protect local companies in the event of a business failure.
The commissioners were also asked by Lebanon Pipeline Awareness president Ann Pinca to reconsider accepting gifts or sponsorships from pipeline related companies in the future.
County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz noted that she had previously proposed a modal ordinance for local municipalities, which wouldn’t prevent projects but would help provide best practices for their consideration and management.
As usual, Litz also streamed video of the presentation and ensuing conversation, which you can find below along with Lebanon Pipeline Awareness’ letter to the commissioners.