Progress on Mariner East II pipeline, 2015

Work progresses on the Mariner East pipeline in 2015 in the Pennsylvania Game Commission's popular Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Opponents of the Mariner East II pipeline, which would be built through 6.5 miles of northern Lancaster County, have been dealt another defeat.

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania dismissed an appeal by a Huntingdon County couple and upheld an earlier ruling that pipeline owner Sunoco Pipeline L.P. is a public utility in Pennsylvania and thus has the power to use eminent domain.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has already approved the pipeline and said Sunoco may use eminent domain powers to secure land it needs for the project.

Previously: State clears Mariner East II gas pipeline to be built across northern Lancaster County

Monday’s ruling was by a 2-1 vote, with Judge Joseph M. Cosgrove dissenting. He said dismissal of the appeal was too hasty and said more examination of the case was warranted because “environmental considerations are not ancillary nuisances.”

But Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer said the pipeline would provide a public service by improving how natural gas liquids are shipped to Pennsylvania customers.

Cumberland County landowners had initiated a similar court case last year, with the same results.

The latest case could be appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Reacting to the ruling, the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance said, “The construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline will provide countless benefits to the people of Pennsylvania, including the creation of over 30,000 union jobs, increased access to clean, efficient and affordable energy resources, and a $4.2 billion economic impact to the Commonwealth.

“With this recent ruling, we hope that the pipeline’s few vocal opponents will now acknowledge that the formal process for permitting this project has occurred, after unprecedented regulatory review and with their input. It is now time to end the delay tactics and to build this vital energy infrastructure project.”

The pipeline would run from Washington County in western Pennsylvania to a processing terminal at Marcus Hook near Philadelphia. The processed fuel would be used for regional markets and shipped overseas, according to Sunoco.

In Lancaster County, the pipeline would run alongside an existing Sunoco pipeline in Clay and West Cocalico townships, including parts of the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Officials for the townships say there has not been opposition among residents.

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