On Monday, opponents of the Mariner East 2 pipeline continued legal maneuvers to try to delay or halt construction of the project. The latest complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. If you are writing about this latest action, please consider the following statement issued by the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance. Feel free to quote me, Kurt Knaus, as spokesman:
“The lawsuit filed by the Gerhart’s and other anti-pipeline activists in U.S. District Court is just the latest among frivolous lawsuits, despite the group’s own illicit actions. During necessary and legally allowed tree-clearing operations, these activists chose to climb trees against the directives of law enforcement on the basis of law and safety, resulting in their arrest. Following these ill-advised actions, filing a lawsuit against law enforcement officers on hand to ensure the standard of law is upheld is unfortunate and proves that the law means nothing to them in their pursuit of ideological interests.”
The Gerhart family has run afoul of law enforcement for ideological pursuits on multiple occasions resulting in multiple arrests. They have also been in constant pursuit of litigation in attempts to delay or halt the Mariner East 2 project despite several rulings against them.
Most recently, Commonwealth Court of Common Pleas Judge Zanic ruled that the Mariner East 2 pipeline could lawfully run through their property and that the Gerhart’s and activists camping on their property must vacate the right of way, including the trees. To date, no reports have confirmed compliance with this court ruling.
Likewise, previous challenges to Mariner East 2 have all been struck down, largely because of the high level of public engagement and oversight that went into developing this project. Earlier this year, 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 15, Commonwealth Court validated the utility status of Sunoco Pipeline by dismissing an appeal against the project. These are just a few snapshots of some recent and repeated rulings against project opponents.
Kurt Knaus, Spokesman
Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance
PEIA is a broad-based coalition of labor, agriculture, manufacturing and other business interests statewide that support private investment in pipeline and other energy infrastructure developments.