It is hard to pick up a newspaper in Pennsylvania without reading about natural gas actions or developments. One recent development, yet another Clean Air Council lawsuit (filed on August 27), demands some close scrutiny. Though not widely reported, the Clean Air Council’s latest attempt to hold up yet another important energy infrastructure project and the benefits it will deliver is just another example of how these groups continue to use the frivolous lawsuit tactic to stall and delay important projects.
Narrow agendas are driving this most recent lawsuit to challenge the eminent domain rights of Pennsylvania company Sunoco Pipeline in order to stop its $3 billion investment in the Mariner East natural gas liquids project. For more on the motivation and tactics behind the lawsuit, check out this Natural Gas Now blog.
Eminent domain should be used on limited occasions and we must always respect the rights and concerns of citizens, but the right of eminent domain has been around for centuries and was created for the very purpose of delivering public benefits and meeting the needs and demands of citizens. Despite all of the economic growth our state has seen due to companies investing in big projects to tap Pennsylvania’s homegrown shale resources, we too frequently continue to see this activist sue and stall playbook used to disrupt, misinform, and undermine the greater public interest.
Governor Wolf has convened a Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force to recommend policies, guidelines and best practices to guide the development of pipeline infrastructure in Pennsylvania because it is such an important economic and energy security priority in our state. As the members of this task force undergoes its work, it must seriously consider the undo influence and impact these types of frivolous lawsuits continue to have.
Sitting on top one of the largest natural gas fields in the world, Pennsylvania is uniquely positioned to lead a state and national energy resurgence that will grow the economy, produce a clean energy bridge fuel and help our nation strengthen its energy independence.
Despite the increasingly pressing need for infrastructure to bring these natural gas resources to market, Pennsylvania still does not have the pipeline infrastructure in place meet growing demand. From President Obama, to Governor Wolf and leaders in the statehouse, to the business community and local residents, the support is there to capitalize on Pennsylvania’s natural gas resources and the benefits they deliver. Let’s make sure these benefits are not unjustly held up held up.