PA Reporter Gets Law Firm to Withdraw from Sunoco Pipeline Case

Since we’re tracking the progress of Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East pipeline, and since this (minor) story has a potential impact on it, we’ll bring it to your attention. On Monday the anti-drilling PBS “reporter” Marie Cusick, who never misses a chance to trash-talk the Marcellus Shale industry, published an article on the reliably anti-drilling StateImpact Pennsylvania website highlighting what theoretically could be considered a conflict of interest for the law firm representing Sunoco Logistics. The law firm of McNees, Wallace and Nurick representing Sunoco Logistics is an associate member of the (hated) Marcellus Shale Coalition and they regularly represent (evil) gas industry companies. However, over the past two years McNees has also been used as outside (not inside, but outside) counsel for the state Public Utility Commission (PUC).

The potential conflict is that the Mariner East case requesting Sunoco Logistics be classified as a public utility corporation with right of eminent domain is right now before the PUC and it is the PUC that will make a decision. Although different attorneys work for Sunoco case than for the PUC, the surface appearance of a conflict still exists (it’s the same law firm)–that we have to admit. A day after the story ran McNees filed paperwork removing themselves from the case. Now Marie can do a happy dance and put a feather in her cap. Atta girl, Marie! Not that it will make one fig of a difference in the end…

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