Monthly Archives: March 2015

Mike Faherty Speaks at Pipeline Awareness Meeting

mike_speakingMike Faherty, of Faherty Law Firm in Hershey, PA was the featured speaker at the March 10, 2015 meeting of the Cumberland and Perry Pipeline Awareness meeting in New Cumberland. He explained the nature of the Constitutional protections of private property rights. He reviewed the March 5, 2015 Sunoco Pipeline Petition for Leave to Withdraw Pleadings. That action is expected to be approved and slightly weaken the questionable arguments by Sunoco Pipeline for eminent domain power for the Mariner East 2 Pipeline.

Mike reviewed survey intrusion on property rights along with just compensation calculations. Mike represents a growing number of the owners threatened by the Sunoco Pipeline Mariner East 2 proposal.

By |March 13th, 2015|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction|

Sunoco Pipeline Submits Petition to Withdraw Pleadings

On March 5, 2015 Sunoco Pipeline submitted a Petition for Leave to Withdraw Pleadings for the nine remaining petitions which sought findings that the Mariner East 1 pipeline pump stations were exempt from local zoning. Sunoco Pipeline alleged that it had obtained approval from the remaining townships or decided to re-engineer the pump stations such that the pump stations buildings would not be required. If the withdrawal is approved by the PUC judges, a delay and a litigation risk would be eliminated for Sunoco Pipeline.

The approval of the withdraw of the petitions would appear to moot, or eliminate, prior rulings of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. These events appear to eliminate at least one Sunoco Pipeline argument for eminent domain power for the proposed Mariner East 2 Pipeline.

By |March 12th, 2015|Categories: Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|

Faherty Law Office Opens – Specializing in Eminent Domain for Pennsylvania Land Owners

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On February 28, 2015 Mike Faherty relocated his eminent domain law practice from a Harrisburg law firm to Faherty Law Firm, 75 Cedar Avenue, Hershey PA 17033. Mike may be reached at mfaherty@fahertylawfirm.com or at (717) 256-3000. Mike will continue his protection of private property rights in Pennsylvania with his associate attorney Tara B. Horvath. Mike continues in his service as the Pennsylvania representative of the Owners Counsel of America.

Mike will also continue as author on his blog to keep property owners up-to-date with relevant issues concerning Eminent Domain in Pennsylvania. This blog may be found here on www.fahertylawfirm.com.

By |March 12th, 2015|Categories: News|

Lebanon Pipeline Awareness Meeting

On February 26, 2015 Mike Faherty attended the meeting of Lebanon Pipeline Awareness. Mike spoke at his alma mater, Lebanon Valley on property rights threatened by private pipelines crossing Pennsylvania. He explained weak eminent domain arguments by Sunoco Pipeline concerning the proposed Mariner East 2 Pipeline. He discussed likely federal approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of the Williams Company proposed Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline. He advised skepticism as a proper response to assertions of representatives of pipeline companies. Mike suggests legal representation by an experienced eminent domain attorney.

By |March 12th, 2015|Categories: Pipeline Construction|

Mariner East 1 Update

Mike Faherty attended the February 10, 2015 prehearing conference held by Pennsylvania Utility Commission Judges Salapa and Barnes. Sunoco Pipeline, without explanation, withdrew 22 of the 31 pending petitions. Those petitions sought a finding that the proposed Mariner East 1 Pipeline pump stations were exempt from local zoning ordinances. The Judges provided a litigation schedule of many months for public hearings and litigation on the remaining nine petitions.

By |March 10th, 2015|Categories: Pipeline Construction|

Atlantic Sunrise

Attorney Mike Faherty, below right, the founding attorney of Faherty Law Firm, attended a Lebanon County presentation by Williams Company concerning the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. A company representative indicated plans for 50 foot wide permanent pipeline easements and 75 foot wide temporary easements. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is reviewing a pipeline proposal. Williams Company is expected to attempt to purchase easements based on linear foot calculations. In truth, property owners at entitled to just compensation as defined by before minus after value as damages per the Pennsylvania Eminent Domain Code.

meeting _pic

By |March 10th, 2015|Categories: Pipeline Construction|

Cox v. Sunoco

Mike Faherty’s litigation on behalf of property owners progressed to where a Washington County Judge provided an additional stay, or delay, in the consolidation cases to allow for the parties to resolve the cases. The cases with property owner representation by Attorney Mike Faherty have progressed to written resolutions. The property owners agreed to modified and restricted easement language with large financial settlements. Cox v. Sunoco and the related consolidated cases fully resolved, without a decision on eminent domain power, in September of 2014.

By |March 10th, 2015|Categories: Pipeline Construction|

Update: Mariner East 1 Decision

A July 2014 ruling of a Pennsylvania Public Utility Judge favored property owners by finding that the Sunoco Logistics Mariner East 1 project does not qualify as a public utility corporation and accordingly, would not obtain eminent domain power. The ruling relied, in part, on the Mike Faherty litigation victory in Loper v. Sunoco in which a York County Judge adopted Mike Faherty’s argument that the pipeline was regulated as a “common carrier” not as a public utility corporation.

By |March 10th, 2015|Categories: Pipeline Construction|

PUC overturns Judges decision on Sunoco Logistics

The initial Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission decision concerning the Sunoco Logistics Mariner East (1) pipeline was that the proposal did not qualify as a public utility. In October of 2014 a 4-1 vote of the Public Utility Commission allowed the repurposing of that pipeline to move forward with a remand to the original PUC Judge to decide on the applicability of zoning restrictions to pump stations.

Update: Mike Faherty attended the February 2015 scheduling hearing on the zoning remand. Most of the petitions were withdrawn, leaving nine pump stations at issue for an evidence schedule which may lead to a decision in late 2015.

Sunoco pipeline: PUC overturns judge’s decision, sends pipeline back for further review

Sunoco Logistics’ Marcus Hook facility outside of Philadelphia. (AP)
By Nick Malawskey | nmalawskey@pennlive.com

MarkcusHook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunoco Logistics’ proposed 300-mile pipeline project, Mariner East, which cuts through much of the midstate, is headed toward another round of hearings.

In a 4-1 vote Thursday the Public Utility Commission ruled to overturn an administrative law judge’s decision regarding the jurisdiction of the pipeline, specifically whether or not the pipeline constitutes a public utility and, by extension, whether or not structures built along the proposed pipeline would qualify as buildings under local zoning ordinances.

It is that question – when is a structure exempt from local zoning rules – that administrative law judges will be asked to review and rule upon. The commission further dismissed eight other remaining preliminary objections brought in the case.

The commission ruled that Sunoco has a long-standing status as a public utility back to the 1930s when two of its pipelines were certified as public utilities.

Commissioners further stated that other questions about the project, namely the route, safety concerns and whether or not Sunoco is authorized to build the pipeline, are outside the bounds of the issue before the PUC. Objections in that vein had been filed by the Clean Air Council, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the Concerned Citizens of West Goshen Township and the Mountain Watershed Association.

“In this proceeding, the commission is being asked to decide on a very narrow question: Whether enclosures (walls and a roof) that are built around and over a valve control or pump station should be exempt from municipal zoning regulation,” the commission said in a statement.

The lone dissenting vote was cast by Commissioner James Cawley, who objected to the PUC’s rejection of the remaining objections.

“I think it is beyond dispute Sunoco has [public utility] certificates from us,” he said Thursday. “That being said, that dealt with only one of the nine preliminary objections.”

Cawley said that while addressing the other objections would require additional hearings – and time, “I think we owe it to the people affected to take that time.”

sunoco_logistics_pic1This map shows the Mariner East pipeline which extends from Delmont to Marcus Hook as well as a number of the pipeline’s feeder lines. A former oil pipeline, the Mariner East is being repurposed to transport natural gas products east.Provided by Sunoco Logistics

Mariner East is an existing oil pipeline that Sunoco plans to retrofit to transport natural gas products, propane and ethane, east, from Marcellus Shale natural gas processing centers in western Pennsylvania with Sunoco Logistics’ Marcus Hook facility near Philadelphia.

A former oil refinery, Sunoco is in the process of renovating the facility to accommodate natural gas products being shipped from the shale regions for export. The company is also proposing a second pipeline, the Mariner East II, which would mirror the existing pipeline.

At an infrastructure conference in August, Sunoco said it plans to have Mariner East I online by the fourth quarter of this year, with additional capacity coming online in mid-2015. Sunoco Logistics’ showed a start date of fourth quarter 2016 for the Mariner East II project.

However, PUC officials said Thursday there is, as yet, no timeline for the hearings that would be required before a judge could rule on the zoning questions surrounding the pipeline’s pump and valve stations.

By |March 10th, 2015|Categories: Pipeline Construction|

The Pipeline Safety T C Landowners Guide – Pipeline Safety Trust

owners_guideMike Faherty served as a contributing author to the Landowners Guide published by the Pipeline Safety Trust. This accurate booklet provides very helpful and extensive information for property owners. To view this guide click here.

By |March 10th, 2015|Categories: Property Rights|