Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on Tuesday ruled that West Goshen Township “lacked the authority to zone out a public utility service and facility” regulated by the state Public Utility Commission. The state judges upheld a Chester County judge’s denial of a petition by Mariner East 2 opponents who claimed that the pipeline project violated the township’s zoning ordinance and wanted construction blocked.
Previous challenges to Mariner East 2 have all been struck down: 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. On May 15th of 2017, Commonwealth Court validated the utility status of Sunoco Pipeline by dismissing an appeal against the project. Huntingdon County Common Pleas Court Judge George Zanic ruled against efforts to delay construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in June of 2017.
This is just a snapshot of some recent and repeated rulings against project opponents. The ruling also calls into question recent acts by Uwchlan Township supervisors who are trying to enforce a township zoning ordinance forbidding Sunoco from constructing Mariner East 2 in the in the township.
If you are writing about this latest ruling or the ongoing zoning issues in southeastern Pennsylvania, please consider the following statement issued by the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance. Please feel free to quote me, Kurt Knaus, as spokesman:
“Courts at every level have made clear time and again that municipalities’ attempts to try to use local zoning to halt construction of this statewide pipeline project are unlawful and out of order. Mariner East 2 has gone through tremendous scrutiny at every level of government, and the permits are among the most stringent the state has ever issued for this type of construction activity. That’s why courts continue to uphold this project, which will provide countless positive benefits in terms of jobs, economic activity and access to vital energy resources.”
For more than two years, the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance has advocated for the safe, responsible development of critical infrastructure and boosts in economic activity.