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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 | email@example.com
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 […]
Mike 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.