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Property owner fights natural gas pipeline

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It’s an ongoing battle, spanning years, between Pennsylvania property owners and Sunoco Logistics, a natural gas company building multiple pipelines throughout the state.

The construction of the pipeline Mariner East 2, set to run through 17 counties in the southern part of Pennsylvania, has struck a cord with Huntingdon landowner, Ellen Gerhart.

“In 61 years, I’ve never been arrested for anything and I got arrested three times,” Gerhart says.

Once has been at a protestor rally, another arrest took place while Gerhart’s daughter took part in a tree sit on their land. The Mariner East 2 is said to transport natural gas liquids from Ohio to Delaware and is set to plow through three acres of Gerhart’s property.

“The amount of environmental damage that these pipelines are doing,” says Gerhart. “They’re going through wetlands; not just on our property, but through other wetlands across Pennsylvania.”

Sunoco claims the project has created thousands of construction jobs and “will support approximately 300-400 permanent jobs when complete” according to the Sunoco Pipeline Communications Manager, Jeff Shields.

In a written statement response to our story, Shields says Pennsylvania cited a need for “cost effective, reliable, safer transportation of propane in determining that the Marnier East system served a public need.”

Gerhart argues that need is counteracted with environmental damage, safety concerns and lack of consideration of landowners as the company sites potential pipeline property as eminent domain.

“The fact that these corporations can just come in and grab land and use it for profits,” says Gerhart. “There is no public benefit to this.”

Just last week, Sunoco filed an injunction against Gerhart and her fellow protestors, just one of several over the past few years.

“They’re saying, ya know, we were going to cause them irreparable harm by protesting,” says Gerhart.

Sunoco says they’ve worked “amicably” with more than 2,000 landowners on the Mariner East 2 project. Also adding: “we make every attempt to negotiate with landowners, and we use legal options only as a last resort, when negotiations fail.”

Gerhart says her attorney has filed a petition to have her case heard by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

According to Sunoco, the Mariner East 2 is expected to commence operations in the fall of 2017.

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