Even as the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission prepares later this month to review elements from a ruling from by administrative law judge that halted construction of the Mariner East 2 and 2x pipelines and ceased operations of the existing Mariner East 1 pipeline, court victories continue to mount in favor of the pipeline.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a challenge to a Sunoco Inc. unit’s ability to use eminent domain to demand a right of way for the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Pennsylvania, cementing a ruling in the company’s favor against a Lebanon County landowner.
This ruling is just the latest in a string of rulings favoring the project. Last summer, a three-judge Commonwealth Court panel ruled in favor of Mariner East’s parent company, Sunoco Pipeline LP, upholding their status as a public utility because it will provide increased public access to energy resources like propane.
Huntingdon County Common Pleas Court Judge George Zanic ruled against efforts to delay construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline after Commonwealth Court validated the utility status of Sunoco Pipeline by dismissing an appeal.
None of this is new. The courts repeatedly have ruled against challenges to the state Public Utility Commission’s designation of Sunoco’s project as a public utility and its public benefit, like the decision in a Cumberland County case in July 2016. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on that Commonwealth Court case in December 2016.
If you are writing about the appeal and continuing legal issues, please find a statement from the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance. You can quote me, Kurt Knaus, as PEIA spokesman:
“The reason this project has withstood so much legal scrutiny over the years is because it was subject to intense scrutiny by state and federal regulators and to enormous public review by residents all along the line for several years before a shovel ever hit the ground. Officials at the PUC should take note of all of these cases, which show how extensive and proper the work was to site and permit this project.”