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Judge backs Sunoco in dispute over its use of eminent domain

| Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, 12:01 a.m.

Sunoco Logistics scored a victory in one of its court battles over land it needs to build a cross-state pipeline for natural gas liquids.

A Cumberland County judge last week dismissed the challenges that three sets of landowners filed to eminent domain proceedings, ruling that the Philadelphia-based company has the authority to seize land as a public utility.

Hershey attorney Michael Faherty, who represents the landowners and others who filed similar challenges elsewhere, could not be reached Friday.

Sunoco Logistics is seeking to use eminent domain in several counties where it could not reach agreements with landowners as it builds Mariner East 2. That pipeline will mostly parallel an existing system used to deliver propane, butane and ethane from Marcellus and Utica shale wells to the Marcus Hook terminal south of Philadelphia.

“While the court's decision is consistent with other courts who have looked at the issue for this project, and consistent with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's determination that this service is a public utility service, we do not view the need to resort to eminent domain as a positive outcome,” the company said in a statement.

Judge Edward Guido ruled that the PUC's designation satisfies the public utility requirement because the pipeline will accept and deliver liquids within the state. He said a decision last year by a York County judge that questioned Sunoco's status was no longer applicable.

David Conti is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412- 388-5802 or dconti@tribweb.com.

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