Anti-Pipeline Activists Dealt Another Defeat in Court

Penn Live published a piece titled, “Opponents of Sunoco’s Mariner East II Pipeline Handed another Legal Defeat,” today. The Commonwealth Court in Huntingdon County ruled in favor of Mariner East 2’s parent company, Sunoco Logistics, casting yet another defeat to anti-pipeline activists. This court case defeat in Huntingdon County is the most recent in a series of unsuccessful court cases filed against the Mariner East 2 project. This time, Pennsylvania residents, Stephen and Ellen Gerhart, challenged Sunoco’s status as a public utility, which the court reaffirmed allowing the company to move forward with this critical project.

Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer wrote, “that Sunoco Pipeline L.P. is recognized by the state as a public utility, and so has power to condemn private property for its project.”  Judge Jubelirer concluded “that the pipeline will provide a public service by more efficiently shipping propane to Pennsylvania customers. That will take 500 tractor-trailers a day off the state’s highways… [and] will transport other byproducts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling as well.” As pipelines provide energy resources required for routine public use, they are allowed to cross over property using eminent domain, grounded in the tenant of public use. This series of court rulings reaffirms the broader importance of the pipeline infrastructure in meeting community and public needs through energy connectivity, job creation and linked economic benefits.