SJB_Lab-KMC15032707420Large Transmission Pipeline Intrusion: Its Coming to a Backyard Near You in Pennsylvania!
I would like to elaborate a bit on the situation since myth and misconception abound concerning pipelines right now. I have been forced to do my share of research and have had to deal with first hand experience from Sunoco Logistics quickly forcing eminent domain proceedings on me and my family’s home and property to run two, maybe more, 24 inch NGLs high pressure hazardous transmission long distance Pipelines through my front yard for exportation of propane, ethane, and butane overseas for their profits. We had our hearing in the Lebanon County Courthouse on November 30. It was a horrible experience watching their high profile law firm object to everything we tried to prove as abuse of our private property. They used an interesting theory to prove that they are here to save Pennsylvanians due to the “Polar Vortex” weather pattern that caused cold winters these past two years leading to demands for propane. Saying that is why they are giving some propane to us, and allowing the PUC to regulate them as a Public Utility giving them Eminent Domain Power. They claim their prices will be regulated as well. Gee, I guess that is good, since this winter the weather experts have declared an El Nino’ pattern causing a warmer than usual winter, so there will be no demand anyway. So that makes up 5% of the NGL products they are being given eminent domain power over, but what about the other 95% of NGL high pressure highly hazardous and volatile 24 to 42 inch pipelines coming through our properties that are not for us, but to be exported overseas. Must those be regulated too? Does the price get regulated for those countries to purchase from Sunoco too. HA! They got a Certificate of Necessity and Convenience from the PUC, but FERC approved the original interstate pipeline project called Mariner East 2. Not the PUC. Sunoco claims to be an interstate/intrastate Pipeline now. But who regulates what part of it and are they sure who has total jurisdiction. They say they are sure , since their attorneys counseled the PUC at the same time the PUC re-affirmed Sunoco as a Public Utility in 2012. And guess what, that is the same Law firm that now is handling all of Sunoco’s numerous quick to threaten and take action by eminent domain proceedings on property owners who want fair compensation because they have a lot to lose. Just as we do. Something just seems bizarre about all this. But at this point, Sunoco is on a mission like no other pipeline company to act on Eminent domain taking to get their project through. We think, before all the old regulations on NGL Pipelines catches up to them. The technology is way ahead of the regulations needed for these new huge NGL high pressure pipelines designed to funnel all the fracking industry’s shale gas to the coast for overseas shipping. We don’t need the product here anymore, so why is this even considered for one minute a public utility issue in the first place. Its pure deception they are trying to get away with under the current loop-holes in the laws and regulations their oil and gas supporting Law Firm has found ways to utilize. They know if the pipelines get completed, then its too late. Things change all the time. They already get our land for pennies then. They can decide there is no demand and shut down their drop off points for propane to Pennsylvania and just ship all 100% overseas. It happens. They have changed so many things just to do what they are doing. They can change again, and again, and again. Because !!!! They can!!!! Our Laws and Regulations allow Sunoco to act and do exactly what they are doing to us. Because they can. Question: Is this a country of free enterprise and Capitalism, or government control and regulations such as is the case in Communism. Sunoco is having it both ways with what they have worked out with our state and this Mariner East 2 Pipeline Project.
I noticed a reader had commented that it shouldn’t be a big deal to have a big NGLs pipeline through our yard. We will lose $138,000 worth of sustained forested area, planted trees, shrubs, perennials, landscaping and loss in property value according to professional estimates. We get nothing in return but a bond for $11,000 as it stands right now, unless some judge sees it in his ruling to pass judgement granting more in damages. Still, it is not like we get some sort of royalty for the rest of the years this pipeline pumps billions of gallons of $$$ in profits for Sunoco and the many other pipeline companies to come. We get nothing but to continue to pay the annual taxes on their permanent easement through our property. If you think this makes sense think again. This is not the same as UGI Natural gas to your home, or the old petroleum low pressure transport pipelines. These are more dangerous and more profiting Projects due to the whole new fracking industries’ glut of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas sitting in areas of Ohio, West Virginia, and Northern PA for export. It has to all go through us to get there. This is a whole new “ballgame” using a “whole newly extracted product” being expedited to its destinations through transformed high pressure liquid formats through these huge diameter pipelines that is all just the beginning of what is Phase 2 of the natural gas Fracking Industry’s major highway. There really needs to be changes to protect our property rights, folks!!! Because we are located in the middle of that new “pipeline highway.” “Hey, at this point, if we had our way right now, we would prefer they just move our house like other eminent domain cases involving highways.” You can’t necessarily totally place blame on these big companies, because they are in competition with each other and just doing what they think they are allowed to do. I would say Sunoco Logistics leads the way, though currently, with being the first to push so many eminent domain proceedings already and use the loop-holes in the current old laws and regulations on Natural Gas Liquids Pipelines (Different from Natural Gas Regulations). They may , also, well be the company responsible for prompting law makers to realize they need to make changes, so this new “best and safest way to transport NGLs” does not continue to get abused by handing power to destroy private property owners lively-hoods without at least paying a fair share price and considering locations of where they are laying these high pressure potentially hazardous pipes. Right now they have the power from outdated laws going back to the 1930’s and some newer ones passed through a misunderstanding of some law makers (its easy to be mislead by these pipeline people-even if you are a professional law maker, judge, etc.) which is allowing for eminent domain takeover power, which they “wheel and deal” with mocking delight as they lie, deceive, and bully their way through communities, all the while claiming to treat landowners with “fairness and respect.” When these Right of Ways were just little oil or jet fuel pipelines like we currently had for 16 years on our property, we did actually get treated with fairness and respect. But these people are not even from around here, as most of the license plates are from Texas. It has become pure corporate greed. Anyone who has read the dockets posted can find scores of instances showing the truly vile nature of their dealings. Our eminent domain defense attorney gave us the best advice of all the very day we met and hired him, while walking our property back in the spring of this 2015 year. “Don’t believe a word these people try to tell you.” Boy was he right. Before that, I actually just assumed they were the same fair people I was working with the past 16 years here with the much smaller oil/jet fuel pipeline located 120 feet from our house. We are not anti-pipeline activists, as we understand the need for energy export to needy countries , etc.. and wanted to deal fairly with Sunoco; they chose not to, and have attempted to take advantage of what they feel they can do to us and other simple property owners. We feel like we were targeted because they knew we had too much to lose. This is a Whole Different Ballgame!
Everyone better be aware, that the overreaching plans for 5,000 more miles of new pipelines in the next few years are expecting to be tearing more communities apart like ours by pitting neighbor against neighbor as they try to protect their largest life time investment of property from being ripped away from them in the name of corporate greed. Don’t take my word for it. Just do some searching on the internet. It won’t take you long to find sad stories just like ours, such as the one about a lady who owns her own Horse Veterinarian Farm in Columbia County who stands to lose her business due to the Atlantic Sunrise Transmission Pipeline wanting to rip right through the middle of her pastures and buildings since it is designated for export of shale gas overseas bringing billions in profits to the company. It goes on and on, and the mid-state is only getting started with so many more to come. We are the Bulls-eye here in the Mid-State! Something needs to be done to put some fair regulations on these companies to negotiate properly and absolutely fairly. Because right now they do not need to do that. I would rather deal with a “pressuring car salesman,” since I know I will not get as many lies, as we have gotten from these “pipeline people.”
In this age of Internet news and social media, I urge Pennsylvanians to educate themselves on the very real health threats and more this industry is bringing to our back yards, because you wont get it from them. You won’t get many straight answers about anything from these “new age corporate greedy” pipeline companies. Mainly because they don’t have to due to the outdated laws, rules, and regulations.
If you haven’t seen the film “The End of the Line” by Sellus Wilder, purchase a copy on line. Proceeds go to fighting the Pipeline Industry. It is worth the $10. Not that my wife and I are personally anti-pipeline activist people, but these companies can not be allowed to bully the way they are. This story shows what the state of Kentucky did to put one of those big companies in its place through pure grassroots efforts to fight back. Pennsylvania may need to “get with it” and follow suit before it is too late.