What’s the fastest way to get approval to build a hotly contested, demonstrably volatile 299-mile gas liquids pipeline through numerous densely populated suburban Pennsylvania municipalities?
First, elevate your corporate status to Public Utility. Then, claim the right of Eminent Domain to bulldoze over local zoning restrictions and the objections of local residents. At least that’s how former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Michael L. Krancer, would like to see construction of Sunoco Logistics Mariner East Pipeline proceed. In fact, he’s leading the charge.
Litigate, Baby, Litigate
For a brief moment, it appeared Sunoco Logistics Partners was listening. Angry Chester County residents had literally “Boo’d” the company’s request for an expedited permit to erect a large pumping station at Rt. 202 and Boot Road in West Goshen Township. After that remarkable meeting, the public’s interest and participation only grew more intense.
West Goshen crowd boos Sunoco plan, Kendal Gapinski, Daily Local News, April 4, 2014
Sunoco Pipeline plan draws political resistance, Andrew Maykuth, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 5, 2014
West Goshen Township Proposed Natural Gas Pumping Station Controversy, Chris O’Connell, Fox29 Philly, April 14, 2014
Sunoco reps meet with angry community, Kendal Gapinski, The Daily Local, April 23, 2014
250 grill Sunoco on pumping-station plan, Michaelle Bond, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 24, 32014
On April 29, 2014, Kendall Gapinski reported in The Daily Local, Sunoco withdraws West Goshen zoning request: “According to township manager Casey LaLonde, Sunoco has withdrawn its application for special exception for a public utility status that was before the zoning hearing board. No reason for the application’s withdraw has been given, LaLonde said.”
But there was a reason, and soon it was obvious. Sunoco Logistics and its partners had simply gone to get a bigger bat.