Court Considers if PA Towns Can Regulate ME2 Pipeline Location

In May six anti-pipeline residents living near where the Mariner East 2 pipeline will pass asked the Middletown (Delaware County, PA) town council to reject the path of the pipeline near their property because it would, supposedly, pass closer than town code allows. The town council told the residents they’re out of luck–the town will not pursue any action to block Mariner East 2. Period. The residents, amped-up, agitated and funded by Big Green groups filed a lawsuit against the pipeline, to force it to conform with Middletown’s ordinance (see 6 Middletown Antis Sue Sunoco LP to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipe). The lawsuit was filed in the the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. The judge dismissed the case in June, so the antis, again funded by Big Green groups, appealed the case to the next higher court, Commonwealth Court. On Wednesday, an “en banc” panel of Commonwealth Court heard arguments in the case (“en banc” meaning all of the judges heard the case, indicating its high importance). One report of the session indicates the judges expressed skepticism that Sunoco Logstics Partners, the builder, does not have to follow local town ordinances because the pipeline is overseen by the the state and state regulations preempt local ordinances. Needless to say if the case goes against ME2/Sunoco, it will make it harder (but not impossible) to finish work on time…

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