Westmoreland meeting set about proposed Sunoco gas pipeline

| Monday, Oct. 8, 2012

Westmoreland County residents who live in the path of a proposed 45-mile gas pipeline can discuss the project with Sunoco representatives on Wednesday evening in North Huntingdon.

Philadelphia-based Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. would build the pipeline, a 12-inch diameter tube to convey propane and ethane from Houston in Washington County to Delmont. There the pipeline would connect with a line to transport the liquids, which are contained in natural gas, across the state.

In Westmoreland County, portions of Murrysville and North Huntingdon, Penn and Salem townships could be affected by the project. Some municipalities in Allegheny and Washington counties also could be affected, Sunoco spokesman Joe McGinn said.

Residents interested in the project, including those who have received letters from Sunoco about the pipeline, are invited to attend the meeting.

They can ask questions and share their concerns with state Rep. George Dunbar, R-Penn Township, who organized the meeting; township commissioners, and gas company representatives.

“I'm not advocating anything,” Dunbar said. “All I wanted to do is provide them a forum and opportunity to get all their questions answered.”

Several residents who received letters from the company have contacted Dunbar's office, and some are concerned about eminent domain issues, he said.

“The individual property owners always have the right to say ‘no,'” he said.

Dunbar said he wants to offer residents a chance to speak directly to Sunoco.

“I can't as a state representative answer all the questions directly,” he said.

Company spokesman McGinn and other staff members will represent Sunoco at the meeting. McGinn said they will talk about the project and “listen (and) take questions from residents.”

Letters were sent to any resident whose land has been considered, McGinn said. Receipt of a letter does not mean that a homeowner's land will be used.

Sunoco will survey the land to plan a route for the pipeline.

“While it (is) important to note that Sunoco Logistics has not committed to this project to date,” Dunbar said in a news release, “it is equally imperative that we all have the most accurate and timely information going forward.”

Sunoco's pipeline plans are part of the Mariner East project, which would deliver propane and ethane from Marcellus shale areas in Western Pennsylvania to Sunoco's facility in the borough of Marcus Hook, along the Delaware River, where it will be processed, stored and distributed, the company said in a press release.

Mariner East is expected to start transporting propane by the second half of 2014 and to deliver propane and ethane in the first half of 2015, according to Sunoco.

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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