String of Rulings Support Public Interest of Mariner East Pipeline

On Monday, Delaware County set the scene for the latest string of rulings on the Mariner East projects that negated opposition claims regarding its use of eminent domain.

Law360 detailed that the Pennsylvania appeals court ruling on Monday was “the latest in a string of decisions” that reinforced past statements that it “did not have the authority to question a state utility regulator’s finding that a Sunoco Inc. unit could use eminent domain to seize rights-of-way for its controversial Mariner East 2 natural gas pipeline.” The piece elaborated that, “The decision shot down arguments from a pair of suburban Philadelphia landowners that the Sunoco Pipeline LP project did not serve the type of public need required under the state and federal constitutions to allow seizure.”

Correspondently, Penn Live explained that, “the couple joined the list of landowners who have lost such appeals when the Commonwealth Court panel, in an opinion by Senior Judge Dan Pellegrini, rejected their argument that Sunoco lacks authority to condemn land for the project. As his court has ruled before, Pellegrini noted the pipeline project has been designated by the state Public Utility Commission as being in the public’s interest because it will transport propane to help meet the winter heating needs of Pennsylvanians.”

These rulings accord with proposed infrastructure development projects across the region that promote energy connectivity. The Delaware County Daily Times explained “drillers have also been encouraged by the development that these energy infrastructure projects like Rover, Mariner 2, Atlantic Sunrise and PennEast that will provide access to key markets.”

Over the past three years, the Mariner East projects have been subject to unprecedented regulatory review. The ruling on Monday was the latest in the series that reify both the legality of the pipeline’s development and the scope of public interest involved.