Eminent domain's disgraceful use
I'm a landowner in the path of Sunoco's Mariner East pipeline.
In his recent letter, James Kunz of the Operating Engineers Local 66 wrote that companies like Sunoco should be able to take private land through eminent domain (“Eminent domain a necessity,” Pamela Witmer, with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, said shale development is good for jobs and the economy, and that pipelines were a priority for the Public Utility Commission (“Pa.'s promising energy future” ).
I worked for Peoples Gas for 40 years. I know infrastructure is needed. I know oil prices are cyclical. Prices dropped and a lot of jobs were lost — something Witmer didn't say. What happens when oil prices go up and the gas glut is gone?
I've owned my farm since 1973. It's supposed to be my legacy. Sunoco's plans cut it and my trailer park in half, orphaning acreage. I've lost tenants. Boring could damage the park road and septic system.
I'm not anti-development, but it's a perversion of the eminent domain process to allow Sunoco to take my land this way and use it to export for profit. Doing so would prevent my ability to negotiate, and the PUC is cheering it on.
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