On December 30, 2016 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement endorsing the Williams Company Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. The Commission stated: “FERC staff determined that construction and operation of the project would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels with the implementation of Transco’s proposed and FERC staff’s recommended mitigation measures.” Williams continues to buy options and easements for the large natural gas pipeline. The statement foreshadows final federal approval. Williams anticipates the start of mainline construction in mid-2017. Faherty Law Firm is negotiating revised easement terms and compensation for landowners.
On December 29, 2016 our Pennsylvania Supreme court refused to hear the property owners’ appeal of the Commonwealth Court decision of Martin et. al. v. Sunoco Pipeline. The Martin decision had approved the use of eminent domain for the Mariner East 2 pipelines. The Martin case had involved three properties. Owners of one of the properties settled before the Supreme Court decision. The approval of use of eminent domain is final and binding concerning the other two properties in that case.
Other cases remain on appeal. To the extent that those cases involve different issues and evidence, those cases preserve some hope that eminent domain would be eventually denied because the public is not the “primary and paramount beneficiary” of the project.