Sunoco Builds Stronger Case for Mariner East as Public Utility

Brilliant move or manipulating the system? Your view will depend on your drilling proclivity. Late last week Sunoco Logistics, in a bid to strengthen its case before the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) that the Mariner East pipeline should be considered a public utility, filed an application to deliver propane from western PA to its Twin Oaks terminal in Delaware County (eastern PA) using the Mariner East. By delivering propane from one end of the state to the other and redistributing it to customers in that area, Sunoco is attempting to prove that it is a public utility under PA’s definition.

MDN has chronicled Sunoco’s fight to use eminent domain against some recalcitrant landowners who refuse to allow the pipeline to cross their property in western PA, and homeowners in eastern PA who don’t want new compressor stations built along the pipeline’s existing route (see Sunoco Logistics Faces Hostile Crowd Over NGL Pipeline Station). Sunoco claims they are a public utility corporation with the right of eminent domain. Anti-drillers (and possibly some pro-drillers) fighting them claim they are not a public utility. The case is before the PA PUC and Sunoco has just hired attorney Michael Krancer and the legal beagles from the Blank Rome law firm to help out (see Sunoco Hires Big Gun Law Firms to Help Complete Ethane Pipeline). Looks like the legal assist is already paying off with this new strategy…

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