Monthly Archives: February 2017

Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Condemnations

Property owners in the path of the Williams Company Atlantic Sunrise pipeline are now subject to condemnation court filings. The litigation requests approval of the taking of property rights by eminent domain and quick possession of those rights. Property owners may have weak challenges to the condemnations, but continue with rights to just compensation. Williams Company appraisals have valued incorrect property rights to facilitate negotiation of minimal settlements. Owners are encouraged to contact experienced eminent domain counsel to obtain just compensation.

Access sought to 13 properties

A Texas gas pipeline company is seeking a preliminary injunction to obtain immediate possession of rights of way over 13 properties in four counties for the Atlantic Sunrise project.

The motion filed Wednesday in U.S. Middle District Court by Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. seeks access to four properties in Lebanon County, five in Columbia County, three in Northumberland and one in Schuylkill.

The 13 are among the 16 central Pennsylvania properties over which Transco seeks to obtain rights of way through condemnation.

Atlantic Sunrise is a $3 billion project that will increase the capacity to transport natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

It includes about 200 miles of new pipelines, some of which would pass through midstate, plus new compressor, meter and regulator stations in Pennsylvania.

Minor modifications to compressor stations and other work in Virginia, Maryland and North and South Carolina are part of the project recently approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Transco says it needs access to the properties by March 20 to do field surveys that are part of the pre-construction process. The lack of access could delay start of construction a full year, it says.

Written by: John Beauge | PennLive

By |February 24th, 2017|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|

Environmental Groups Challenge Pipeline Approval

The recent Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approval of the Mariner East 2 pipeline has been challenged by environmental groups. Sunoco Pipeline is progressing with construction while the appeal is considered. Similarly, construction is progressing while the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court considers the Property Rights Protection Act challenges to the power of eminent domain. Construction is projected to happen on those properties where Sunoco Pipeline has purchased easements or obtained possession of property rights. A Commonwealth Court decision on the Property Rights Protection Act may be issued in middle to late 2017.

Environmentalists oppose permits for Pa. pipeline

Environmental advocacy groups are trying to halt construction of a $2.5 billion natural gas liquids pipeline across southern Pennsylvania while they appeal newly issued permits that they say would unleash massive and irreparable damage to the state’s environment and residents.

In filings Monday, three groups said the state Department of Environmental Protection had approved incomplete and legally flawed permit applications for Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 pipeline hours earlier “in response to heavy and sustained political pressure.” Supporters view the project as crucial to helping capitalize on the Marcellus Shale natural gas reservoir, where producers say a lack of pipeline infrastructure is depressing prices and demand.

The permits approved water crossings and earth moving for a 306-mile section of 20-inch pipeline that can move 275,000 barrels per day, according to Sunoco Logistics. The project is designed to move propane, butane and possibly ethane from Marcellus Shale producers in southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia to Sunoco Logistics’ Marcus Hook processing and distribution facility near Philadelphia.

It has the support of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature, business groups and labor unions.

According to the environmental advocacy groups, construction would deforest more than 1,500 acres, cross hundreds of streams and wetlands and damage farmland and aquifers that provide drinking water.

The Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Net- work and Mountain Watershed Association did not elaborate on the political pressure in the filings to a state board that hears appeals of the department’s actions. A hearing was scheduled for Thursday.

In an interview Tuesday, Maya van Rossum of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network said it was clear from the groups’ reviews of documents in the case, meetings and conversations that Wolf’s office and the department’s central office were pressuring inspectors to stop asking detailed questions and wrap up.

“Governor Wolf wants to see these pipelines rushed out the door to make sure they happen,” van Rossum said.

Wolf said Tuesday that he had not applied pressure to approve the pipeline project. He said he had only asked the department to stick to the timeline that it said it had needed to review the permit applications. “That’s not political pressure, that’s actually trying to manage an organization,” said Wolf, who was supported by environmental advocacy groups in his 2014 campaign.

Wolf said he was convinced that the department had done its due diligence, and that the pipeline would ultimately have a net benefit, despite the potential environmental impact. “The net benefit of having jobs, the net benefit of having clean sources of energy with gas is big for Pennsylvania,” Wolf said.

He also echoed industry officials, pointing out that prices at one of the major trading hubs for Marcellus Shale gas remain below prices at other big hubs. “We need a distribution system and this is part of it,” he said.

Written by: Marc Levy – Associated Press | Published in Patriot News

By |February 23rd, 2017|Categories: Condemnation, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|

Sunoco Pipeline Obtains Environmental Approval

While Sunoco Pipeline has obtained regulatory approval, Sunoco continues to seek property rights. Faherty Law Firm continues to contest eminent domain power based on the Pennsylvania anti – Kelo statute, the Property Rights Protection Act. Oral argument is scheduled for March 6  before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg. Mike Faherty will ask the Court to review whether the public is the primary and paramount beneficiary of the project.

PA grants final permits for $2.5B Mariner East pipeline

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Monday approved water-crossing and sedimentation permits for the hotly contested Mariner East 2 pipeline, which would transport natural-gas liquids across Pennsylvania to a terminal in Marcus Hook.

The permits are believed to be the final regulatory hurdle for Sunoco Logistics to begin construction of the pipeline, though environmental groups that oppose the project, including the Clean Air Council and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, are expected to appeal their approval to the Environmental Hearing Board.

DEP conducted five hearings and spent more than 20,000 hours reviewing the permit applications and responding to 29,000 comments on the project, Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a statement. Approval was delayed last year after DEP rejected the application to address “technical deficiencies.”

Sunoco Logistics hailed the project, which it said would create an infrastructure system that is critical to the state’s economic future.

“Sunoco Logistics can now begin construction throughout Pennsylvania in accordance with the permits, with estimated completion in the third quarter of this year,” the company said. “Mariner East 2 will require more than 8,000 construction workers to build the pipeline and related facilities.”

The Mariner East project links shale-gas producers in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to Sunoco’s Marcus Hook Industrial Complex, a former refinery site on the Delaware River. The $2.5 billion project was backed by the Corbett and Wolf administrations, along with labor and business interests. But it has aroused opposition from adjacent landowners and environmental groups.

The project’s first phase, using an existing underground pipeline repurposed to deliver up to 70,000 barrels of natural-gas liquids a day, is already operating.

Sunoco wants to build one or two new adjacent pipelines as part of the Mariner East II project. Altogether, the pipelines could carry up to 675,000 barrels a day.

Written by: Andrew Maykuth | phillynews.com

By |February 14th, 2017|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|

FERC Approval of Atlantic Sunrise

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the Williams Partners proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. Williams is expected to conclude property acquisition negotiations or proceed with condemnation filings in February, 2017.

Pipeline clears federal hurdle

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has signed off on the contested Atlantic Sunrise project, which calls for the expansion of a natural gas pipeline that would funnel natural gas from the Marcellus Shale regions through the midstate and across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

The commission issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Williams Partners LP, placing the Oklahoma-based energy group behind the $3 billion project another step closer toward breaking ground on the expansion.

The energy company’s plans call for about 200 miles of new natural gas pipelines, some of which would pass through the midstate.

Williams Partners still must garner approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Historic Preservation Office.

The decision marked the final clearance Williams Partners needed from FERC, which had already all but given its blessing to the project when it released an environmental impact statement late last year.

FERC said in late December that environmental damage linked to the project would be “reduced to less-than-significant levels” through Williams’ mitigation efforts.

The Atlantic Sunrise project also calls for the development of two new compressor stations and other infrastructure to help push gas from the Marcellus Shale fields to markets along the eastern seaboard.

Once complete, newly extracted gas would flow into Williams’ existing 10,500-mile Transco pipeline that runs from New York to the Gulf of Mexico.

Written by: Eric Veronikis | Patriot News

By |February 6th, 2017|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|