Despite the fact that the Mariner East 2 project has gone through a rigorous regulatory process over the past half-decade, opposition groups continue to use the court system to fling every challenge they can imagine, just hoping that something sticks. Without fail, the project has continued to move forward, with a continued emphasis on safe construction and eventual operation of the pipeline.
Earlier today, the Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of Sunoco Pipeline, shooting down the most recent desperate hope from anti-pipeline activists to halt construction. This case was just the latest brought forward by continual pipeline critic, Tom Casey. Since ME2 is regulated by the PUC as a “public utility service and utility,” the Court ruled, local townships cannot impede or halt construction based on their specific zoning regulations.
Uwchlan Township in Chester County has been vocal in recent months that they planned to use local zoning laws to block construction. Fortunately this ruling would no longer allow such action.
This is a great decision by the Commonwealth Court, reaffirming the process that Sunoco Pipeline has followed to a T, as well as maintaining common sense in the pipeline construction process. For projects on a scale like ME2, allowing pipeline infrastructure development companies to work with one body – like the PUC – as opposed to individual bodies for each county, the process is streamlined. For a project that was first proposed nearly a half decade ago, years of delay are removed under this system, and the Commonwealth Court correctly reaffirmed this part of the process.
Today’s decision from the Commonwealth Court keeps ME2 moving towards completion, employing thousands of workers, and impacting our economy to the tune of $9.1 billion. Anti-pipeline groups will continue to try to slow this process, but today’s decision is just the latest example that their tactic of using the courts to delay this important project will not work. This is a positive step for the project and a good day for Pennsylvania.