Sunoco Logistics Partners LP is no longer seeking public utility status for its Mariner East pipeline project, withdrawing the last of its requests with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) for exemption from local zoning ordinances along the proposed route.
Instead, the company told the PUC that it has either secured the necessary zoning approvals or changed the pipeline’s path so that they're not needed. Sunoco plans to extend its existing Mariner East 1 by 50 miles in western Pennsylvania. It would construct the 350-mile Mariner East 2 to transport natural gas liquids from processing and fractionation complexes in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia to the company's Marcus Hook Industrial Complex on the Delaware River south of Philadelphia (see Shale Daily, Dec. 5, 2013).
Last year, the company filed for public utility status, which, if granted, would have exempted it from local zoning ordinances in the public's interest. It was forced to file the requests after it became clear that some townships, particularly in the southeastern part of the state near Philadelphia, would not facilitate development (see Shale Daily, April 28, 2014).
Last year, two administrative law judges ruled against the requests and recommended that the PUC not grant the company public utility status (see Shale Daily, Aug. 1, 2014). The PUC overturned that decision and ordered more public hearings on the issue (see Shale Daily, Oct. 3, 2014). Sunoco's move last week to withdraw its petitions ends that battle, but opponents of the project have vowed to continue fighting it.