Sunoco LP Wins Major Court Decision for Mariner East 2 Pipeline

Gavel-falling.jpgSeems like Sunoco Logistics Partners has been fighting in court for years to get the right to use eminent domain for it’s Mariner East 2 pipeline project. ME2 is a $2.5 billion, 350-mile natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that will run from eastern Ohio through the state of Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia–carting ethane, butane and propane to the facility from both the Utica and Marcellus region, where it will be separated and sent on its way to destinations both domestic and international. Because the project technically crosses a state line, opponents have tried to state PA is not the proper government body to oversee it–it should come under the exclusive oversight of the federal government. However, Sunoco LP has maintained from the beginning that it is a public utility, properly regulated by the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) and not the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The PUC has recognized Sunoco LP and its Mariner pipeline projects as public utilities, with the right to use eminent domain to condemn properties of holdout landowners in PA (see Major Milestone: PA PUC Rules Mariner East IS a Public Utility). However, the PUC’s authority and ME2’s right to use eminent domain was challenged in state Common Pleas Court in Cumberland County, which ruled in favor of Sunoco (see PA Judge Rejects Landowners’ Challenge to Mariner East 2 Pipeline). The judge’s ruling was appealed and now PA’s Commonwealth Court has also ruled in favor of Sunoco LP, saying that Mariner East 2 is regulated by both the PUC and FERC, and it has the right to use eminent domain…

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