More Pushback from PA Residents on Proposed Mariner East Pipeline

pushing backAs part of the good news story about the “makeover” of the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia, MDN came across more details about Sunoco Logistics’ plans to potentially use eminent domain in order to lay pipeline that will bring natural gas liquids, like ethane, to Marcus Hook. You may recall a few weeks ago we told you Sunoco Logistics had made a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to exempt the Mariner East pipeline from local zoning regulations in building some 31 pump and valve control stations across the length of the pipeline (see Sunoco Logistics’ New Roadblock in Building Mariner East Pipeline). A court case in Washington County, PA challenged that right in light of the decision from the PA Supreme Court that grants zoning rights, even for oil and gas development, to local municipalities.

Sunoco Logistics is now being challenged in court in Chester County, questioning their right to become a “public utility corporation” with the right of eminent domain. Just to confuse the issue further, a public utility corporation is not the same thing as being a public utility in PA. However, if Sunoco Logistics is granted public utility corporation status, it means they have the right of eminent domain but are overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and not by the PA PUC. In other words, they get the benefits of being a public utility, without the “burdens” of PA state oversight. That has some residents up in arms…

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