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Impact of proposed pipeline to be discussed by Sewickley Township residents

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

The energy company planning to install a pipeline to transport propane and ethane from a natural gas processing plant in Washington County to its pipeline north of Delmont wants to hold public meetings in Sewickley and Penn townships this fall to discuss the project's local impact, officials said.

Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. of Philadelphia wants to conduct the public meetings, possibly in October, primarily for those who would be impacted by its Mariner East pipeline project, said Christopher Bova, deputy director of the Westmoreland County Department of Planning.

Sewickley Township Supervisor Wanda Layman said a tentative date for the meeting might be Oct. 7.

The proposed pipeline would connect the MarkWest Liberty Midstream & Resources natural gas processing plant in Houston, with Sunoco Logistics' terminal in Salem Township, where it has a pipeline connection with Sunoco's refinery in Marcus Hook. It would enter Westmoreland County in Rostraver Township and cross the Youghiogheny River near Collinsburg. The line would run through sections of South Huntingdon, Sewickley, Hempfield, Jeannette, Penn Township and Murrysville. It will end at Sunoco Logistics's terminal in Salem Township, where it has a pipeline that connects with Sunoco Inc.'s refinery in Marcus Hook, south of Philadelphia.

Joseph McGinn, a spokesman for Sunoco Logistics, could not be reached for comment.

Layman, who attended a recent meeting with officials from the Westmoreland Conservation District and local governments, said she questioned what roads would be affected by the project. Sunoco had made changes to the proposed route, she said.

The proposed route through Sewickley Township would run near Lowber, between Cowansburg and Hutchinson, south of Herminie and south of Edna No. 2.

The 50-mile pipeline would cross 68 streams in Westmoreland; 45 in Washington; and 31 in Allegheny counties, according to the application Sunoco Logistics submitted to the Westmoreland Conservation District on Aug. 2 for an erosion and sediment control general permit for earth disturbances. It will disturb 459 acres in three counties, according to documents submitted to the conservation district.

Sunoco plans to bore a hole for the pipe underneath the streams and roadways, said Chris Droste, senior erosion control specialist. The pipe would be placed four to five feet underneath the streams, Droste said.

The conservation district has 43 days to review the plans, but that can be extended when responses are needed to questions or comments on the plans, said Kathleen A. Fritz, erosion and sedimentation program administrative assistant.

“This is a very different and complex plan,” Fritz said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, must approve the plans, Fritz said.Plans for the Mariner East to transport Marcellus Shale natural gas products from wells form Western Pennsylvania to Philadelphia advanced last week.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Aug. 28 approved a plan to convert a pipeline that currently carries motor fuel from the Philadelphia area to Pittsburgh, into a line that will carry ethane and propane eastward to Marcus Hook. It then will be loaded onto ships for export.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jnapsha@tribweb.com or 724-836-5252.

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