On July 10, West Goshen Township filed a petition with the PUC to stop Sunoco/ETP from constructing a valve complex in a different area than the one they had agreed to in 2015. On July 24, the PUC agreed that the township had a case and told Sunoco/ETP to stop construction pending a ruling.
The PUC found evidence that Sunoco intentionally misled the township and may never have intended to do what it promised in its 2015 agreement.
Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes conducted a preliminary hearing on the matter on July 18. She found that while Sunoco had signed a Settlement Agreement with the township in April of 2015 to build a valve complex on a plot of land west of route 202 (called the “SPLP Use Area”), they never actually planned to do that. Instead, they decided (arbitrarily and without asking the township) to locate it on the other side of 202, on a tract (called “Janiec 2”) where a retirement community was planned.
ALJ Barnes writes: “At the hearing on July 18, 2017, when asked whether a plan existed for the SPLP Use Area like the one developed for Janiec 2, Sunoco’s witness Richard Gordon admitted, ‘there’s not a plan like this one,’ referring to [Sunoco’s plan for the disputed Janiec 2 site], and not even a draft plan.…There is evidence to show Mr. Gordon was aware of plans and recommendations from his engineering consultants to go forward with Janiec 2 Tract, while leading the Township to believe Sunoco would be placing the valve station on the [SPLP Use Area].”
The evidence from the hearing indicates that Sunoco (even as it signed the 2015 agreement that it would build on the SPLP Use Area) already knew it would go ahead with its plans for the Janiec 2 site instead, in violation of the agreement.
At the end of her 11-page order (which is available on the West Goshen web site at www.westgoshen.org), ALJ Barnes orders “that Sunoco is enjoined from beginning and shall cease and desist current construction…”
Now, the matter will be reviewed by the PUC and Sunoco will not be able to continue construction until the PUC issues a ruling.
This whole situation shows Sunoco/ETP’s wanton disregard for the law. It reflects the general approach taken by ETP in its various pipeline projects—barge ahead with construction in whatever way is convenient. If a law is broken or the public suffers, no big deal; fight it and maybe pay a fine, as long as the pipe gets built. Apparently, the only thing that can get Sunoco/ETP’s attention is an order that slows down construction (and delays the flow of petrodollars).