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Sunoco pipeline from Houston-Delmont may use eminent domain

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

Sunoco officials told about 85 residents on Wednesday that the company can use eminent domain to install a proposed pipeline under their land but it hopes not to do so.

The possibility exists, said Sunoco spokesman Joe McGinn, but the petroleum and petrochemical giant does not want to get to that point.

“We ship a product for the good of the public,” said Russell Jones, a project manager at Sunoco. “… We all use those products. These are essential things.”

The property owner could say no, but then could end up in a court process, said Rep. George Dunbar, R-Penn Township, who planned the meeting. That's rare, though, he said.

Philadelphia-based Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. wants to build a 12-inch diameter pipeline to carry propane and ethane from Houston in Washington County to Delmont, a distance of about 45 miles. Propane and ethane are the liquids contained in natural gas.

In Delmont, the pipeline would link with an existing line to convey the liquids across the state.

Sunoco presented a map of its preliminary route, which would cross a large swath of Penn Township. It would also affect North Huntingdon, Salem and Murrysville in Westmoreland County, as well as portions of Washington and Allegheny counties.

The route is not final, McGinn said.

The pipe would be buried about 3 to 7 feet underground, McGinn said.

Several hundred residents received letters over the summer, notifying them that their land would be considered.

The company is willing to meet with each homeowner in an effort to establish a fair contract and price for the easement, McGinn said.

Responding to a resident who said the route intersects some heavily populated areas, Jones said the route was selected because it avoids some very heavily populated areas as well as utilities such as overhead lines.

“This corridor provides us with what we believe is the best route to avoid developed areas,” he said.

Other residents said they're worried about safety, coal mines in proposed areas and fair compensation.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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