By Diana Rocco
EXTON, Pa., (CBS) — A community forum was held Tuesday night about a proposed pipeline project in Chester County, Pa.
Worried residents crowded the Downingtown auditorium looking for answers about a Sunoco Logistics project called Mariner 2. It would run hundreds of miles of natural gas pipeline through their yards and property.
“But to put this through a neighborhood with this kind of population density, a high consequence area, so doesn’t it make sense that if a pipeline fails in a high consequence area there will be high consequences. There will be,” said a resident.
“I can tell you from what I’ve done they have a good safety record and they do everything possible to take care of what needs to be done to do it safely,” said another resident.
Sunoco Logistics has asked landowners like Joe Boyce to sign an upgrade to an easement handing over the rights to his property.
“It would give them permission to do anything they wanted to do,” said Joe Boyce.
He says he was offered nearly $9,000, but still refuses to sign.
“The real estate values that are going to go through the floor in this neighborhood. You know this won’t take a week or so. It will be months of digging, trucks,” said Boyce.
“We are talking about propane, butane, and ethane,” said Mike Bomstein.
The Clean Air Council is now suing Sunoco Logistics because they say they’ve been falsely threatening homeowners with eminent domain if they refuse.
“They are not considered a public utility for purposes of this particular project. And if they’re not a public utility and under the public utility code itself, they don’t have the right of eminent domain,” said Bomstein.
While the Governor says pipelines are necessary, he says this should be decided locally.
“Pennsylvania needs to have a distribution network and the best way to do that is through pipelines,” said Governor Tom Wolf.
Sunoco Logistics representatives were not in attendance due to the pending lawsuit, but in a statement say, in part:
“Sunoco Logistics is committed to open dialogue with landowners and other stakeholders on issues that are important to them regarding the Mariner East projects. That is why we have actively engaged and participated in dozens of municipal meetings, spoken at various events, and held numerous meetings specific to Mariner East.
To date, we have hosted 20 Open Houses across the state — including at least one in each county we pass through and two in Chester County — to provide information and to answer questions on the Mariner East 2 project. More than 1,000 first responders have attended our training sessions and facility tours for Mariner East over the past two years.
We will continue to meet with landowners regarding the project. We also continue to offer an information line at (855) 430-4491 for landowner questions, in addition to our project website, http://www.sxlpipelineprojects.com.”
Resident left frustrated, but say this is far from over.