Berks County landowners along the Mariner East pipeline no longer have to worry about liens filed against them, according to the owner of the pipeline.
A payment dispute has been resolved between Welded Construction, a former Ohio-based general contractor on the Mariner East liquid gas pipeline project, and a subcontractor, United Piping Inc., of Minnesota, according to Lisa Dillinger Coleman, spokeswoman for U.S. energy company Energy Transfer LP. Energy Transfer is the owner of Sunoco, which is building the pipeline.
At least three homeowner couples and the Twin Valley School District in Berks County were recently sent legal letters notifying them that United Piping intended to file liens against their properties because the company had not been paid by Welded.
The company said it intended to file liens under a Pennsylvania law called the Mechanics Lien Law that allows unpaid contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to recover payment for work done by filing liens against the owners of properties where “improvements” had been made.
Welded had filed bankruptcy in October after Sunoco terminated its contract with the company, alleging that Welded failed to comply with environmental regulations.
But the disagreement between Welded and United Piping has been settled, spokeswoman Coleman said.
“All landowners on the project should be receiving follow-up letters to the lien notices in the next 30 days or so,” she said.
“The landowners will not be impacted by these notices. We have been communicating with all landowners who have expressed any concern on this issue.”
State Sen. Judith Schwank of Berks County, when informed of the lien resolution by a reporter Friday afternoon, said it “certainly was good news.”
But she said she would continue to pursue a legislative law to spare future landowners along pipelines from being subjected to unfair threats of liens .
A call placed to United Piping’s attorney in Philadelphia who filed the lien notices was not immediately returned on Friday afternoon.
The Mariner East pipeline goes through 6.5 miles of northern Lancaster County. No landowners there were apparently affected by the threat of liens.
Lebanon County landowners along the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline also have been threatened with liens by another unpaid subcontractor of Welded , Dykon Blasting Corp.
Atlantic Sunrise owner Williams Partners also dismissed Welded for its pipeline project.
Both Williams and Sunoco have withheld payments to Welded .