About this webpage
This section of the website is devoted to providing timely, accurate, and continuously updated public information on the Sunoco Pipeline Project (Mariner I & II) that runs through our Township. This is a highly controversial project that, unfortunately, the Township was forced to engage through litigation starting in 2014. That is when Sunoco, in the Township’s view, breached our mutual Settlement Agreement to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the projects through our community. Documents posted here include legal filings, findings of fact, safety reports, Township news releases and public statements, and other pertinent materials for your review. We greatly appreciate your support and welcome your questions.
Upcoming Events, News & Hearings
September 16, 2019 Accufacts report regarding August 5, 2019 “explosion” at Sunoco’s Boot Road Pump Station
The Township Board of Supervisors authorized Township Special Counsel David Brooman and Township pipeline safety expert Richard Kuprewicz with Accufacts to review the August 5, 2019 “explosion” that occurred at the Sunoco Boot Road Pump Station. The results of that investigation may be found in the following report, authorized to be released by the Board of Supervisors at their September 17, 2019 monthly public meeting.
August 15, 2019 West Goshen Township public comments regarding proposed settlement agreement
West Goshen Township public comments regarding the Township opposing the proposed settlement agreement in the case of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. Sunoco Pipeline, LP.
See the Township’s public comments opposing the settlement agreement, date August 15, 2019:
August 20, 2019 The Daily Local News article regarding a new PA Public Utility investigation:
August 5, 2019 “Loud Boom” Incident
On Monday, August 5th, shortly after 8:00 PM, West Goshen Police responded to several 911 calls regarding a loud “boom” in the area of Sunoco Pump Station close to Route 202 and Boot Road.
It was determined to be a noise associated with the station itself and Sunoco released the following statement regarding the event:
“During routine maintenance at our Boot Station in West Goshen Twp., there was a backfire on a flare at approximately 8 pm as the station was brought back online. This resulted in a loud noise, similar to a car backfiring. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
Chester County Department of Emergency Services was notified shortly after the noise and determined it was not an emergency situation.
The PA Public Utilities Commission is aware of the incident as well.
Additionally, the Township is formally investigating the matter to determine what happened, why, and how such an event can be handled in the future. Although the only first responders at the Township-level are West Goshen Police, we will do everything in our power to find out as much information as we possibly can on behalf of our residents.
2018 Pipeline Training Presentation / PHMSA Training Manual
In 2018, Rep. Carolyn Comitta obtained a $134,000 job training grant for West Goshen Township to facilitate first responder pipeline firefighter training and Highly Volatile Liquids (HVL) training for municipal staff members. 25 firefighters from the West Chester Fire Company and the Chester County HAZMAT team attended five full days of hands-on firefighter training at the Texas A&M University (TEEX) “Disaster City” school in College Station, Texas in September 2018. 23 staff members from Chester County municipalities along the Mariner I route took a three day training session on HVL’s at the United States Department of Transportation’s Transportation Safety Institute, hosted by PHMSA. Many thanks to Rep. Comitta and her staff for obtaining this important job and safety training grant.
Casey LaLonde, West Goshen Township Manager, provided a presentation to the West Goshen Township Board of Supervisors and the public at the May 30, 2019 Board of Supervisors meeting. His presentation may be found below, as well as the Transportation Safety Institute training manual.
Report of “loss of circulation” at Boot Road HDD construction site
It was reported to the Township that on April 15, 2019, Michels, the company hired by Sunoco / Energy Transfer Partners to install the Mariner II & IIx pipelines, experienced a “loss of circulation,” meaning an amount of bentonite clay drilling fluid escaped into a void underground. This is different from an “inadvertent return,” in which bentonite clay drilling fluid escapes the drilling hole and is spilled on the ground. Residents with on-lot well water were notified of the “loss of circulation” by certified mail from Sunoco / Energy Transfer. If you received a letter and experience any changes to your on-lot well water, please follow the instructions contained in the letter. This “loss of circulation” has no affect on those with public water supplied by Aqua, PA.
A copy of the letter sent by Sunoco / Energy Transfer may be found here:
Accufacts Mariner II 12″ Re-Purposed Line Report
September 20, 2018 Public Utility Commission Decision & Order regarding West Goshen Township v. Sunoco Logistics
In summary, the 9/20/18 PUC Decision & Order contains the following:
The ORDER states in its entirety:
- That the Joint Petition for Settlement in Lieu of Exceptions filed by Sunoco Pipeline L.P. and West Goshen Township on August 10, 2018, is moot.
- That the Recommended Decision of Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth H. Barnes, issued on July 19, 2018, is adopted without modification.
- That Sunoco Pipeline, L.P. is enjoined from constructing or locating a valve or its appurtenances on the Janiec 2 Tract or anywhere else in West Goshen Township, except for the SPLP Use Area, without first consulting with and obtaining the express written consent of West Goshen Township.
- That Sunoco Pipeline, L.P. shall provide all engineering documents and plans to Richard Kuprewicz of Accufacts, Inc. for safety reviews related to Mariner East 2 and Mariner East 2X between the valve at Eagle and the valve at Middletown, and regarding Sunoco Pipeline L.P.’s plans to eliminate a valve in West Goshen Township and automate a valve approximately 2.5 miles from West Goshen Township, within thirty (30) days of the entry date of this Opinion and Order, and shall file an affidavit with this Commission attesting that service has been made to Richard Kuprewicz of Accufacts, Inc. within forty-five (45) days of the entry date of this Opinion and Order.
- That Sunoco Pipeline, L.P. shall file an affidavit with this Commission attesting that it has installed remotely operated or automatic valves at MP 335-Eagle Pump Station, MP 341.1-East Lincoln Highway, and MP 350.5-Middletown Road within thirty (30) days of such installation, which shall occur no later than 120 days after the entry date of this Opinion and Order.
- That upon compliance with the directives in Ordering Paragraphs 4 and 5, above, this proceeding at Docket No. C-2017-2589346 shall be marked closed.The Township and its Special Counsel (High Swartz) will be monitoring Sunoco Logistics to ensure that all of the conditions of the Order are completed.
Sunoco Logistics (aka Energy Transfer) to utilize existing 12″ line for Mariner II
Sunoco Logistics announced in early July 2018 that it would be utilizing an existing 12″ line for in lieu of their long-delayed Mariner II line. The Mariner II and IIx construction has been halted in various Chester County municipalities due to issues with their Horizontal Direction Drilling (HDD) program. The repurposed 12″ line runs almost parallel to the existing 8″ line that Sunoco Logistics has utilized since 2015 to pump Marcellus Shale Highly Volatile Liquids (HVL’s) to Marcus Hook for processing. Sunoco Logistics applied to PHMSA in early July for permission to repurpose the line to carry HVL’s instead of the gasoline products currently being shipped west. West Goshen Township’s safety expert, Richard Kuprewicz, will review the pipeline integrity management plan as provided by Sunoco Logistics and report back to the West Goshen Township Board of Supervisors with his review.
Please see the follow letter sent to property owners along the 12″ line’s route.
West Goshen Township v. Sunoco Pipeline, L.P.
The West Goshen Township Board of Supervisors initiated litigation against Sunoco Pipeline, L.P., in 2017 in response to the Township’s position that Sunoco Pipeline, L.P. was acting in violation of the 2014 Settlement Agreement. The litigation is being pursued within the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. After a series of hearings in spring 2018, Public Utility Commission Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes issued her Decision on July 19, 2018:
Judge Barnes’ Decision was based on filings made in June by Township Special Counsel High Swartz and Sunoco Pipeline, L.P.:
Board of Supervisors issues statement regarding recent statements by Sunoco.
Please see the statement here.
PA DEP Allows Sunoco to Restart Drilling Activities – February 15, 2018
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental has issued $12.5M in fines for Sunoco and has allowed a restart of Horizontal Directional Drilling throughout the Commonwealth.
Please see the DEP press release here: http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21395&typeid=1
PA DEP Suspends Mariner East 2 Construction Permits – January 3, 2018
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued an order suspending the construction permits associated with the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.
Please see the DEP press release here: http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articleviewer.aspx?id=21371&typeid=1
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Rescinds Mariner II Injunction
At their December 21, 2017 public meeting the PUC voted 3-2 to rescind the October 26, 2017 Decision and Order, which amended and affirmed the July 24, 2017 injunction issued by Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes, due to “a change in the underlying facts of the case.” The “change in underlying facts” consists of information presented to the PUC by Sunoco that Sunoco no longer intends to construct a valve station in West Goshen Township.Therefore, Sunoco may commence with Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) immediately within the Township.
Furthermore, Sunoco may utilize the Janiec 2 site for any construction-related activities.
The Township intends to continue with the overall PUC case against Sunoco with various Hearings scheduled for 2018.
The PUC’s Order rescinding the October 26, 2017 Order will be posted here upon publication by the PUC.
- At their October 26, 2017 public meeting the PUC AFFIRMED Judge Barnes’ July 24, 2017 Decision and Order by a vote of 4-0. The PUC affirmation of Judge Barnes’ Decision and Order continues the halt of any installation of pipeline valves at the Boot Road site and prohibits the start of Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) in West Goshen Township until the PUC hears the Township’s Sunoco Mariner II case in April, 2018. Please see the PUC’s Decision and Order issued today following the PUC public meeting today:
PUC Decision and Order 10-26-2017
Please see the original Judge’s Decisions and Orders below from July 26, 2017:
- Denial of Motions on Judgment of Pleadings - PUC - July 24, 2017
- Interim Emergency Order Granted - July 24, 2017
- Commencing Monday, October 23rd, Sunoco is conducting hydrostatic testing of their existing 12″ Mariner I line. Please see the Sunoco notice here.
Documents / Litigation
- Accufacts 12" Re-Purposed Line Report
- West Goshen Township PUC Proposed Findings of Fact - August 2, 2017
- West Goshen Township PUC Brief - August 2, 2017
- West Goshen Township PUC Brief without Appendix - August 2, 2017
- PA DEP Order for Cumberland County stopping work - July 27, 2017
- PA DEP Order for Chester County stopping work - July 24, 2017
- Denial of Motions on Judgment of Pleadings - PUC - July 24, 2017
- Interim Emergency Order Granted - July 24, 2017
- 2015 Settlement Agreement
- Accufacts Mariner I Safety Report (Richard Kuprewicz Report)
- Accufacts Mariner II Safety Report (Richard Kuprewicz Report)
- Mariner East I Proposed Settlement Fact Sheet
- Mariner II Pipeline Expert Discussion Notification
- Mariner II Pipeline Accufacts Report Presentation
- Zoning Hearing Application for Pump Station
- Withdraw Notification
- Aerial Photograph of Proposed Site
- 1st Amended Complaint (March 29, 2017)
- Township Response in Opposition for Summary Dismissal
- West Goshen Petition for Ex-Parte Emergency Order
- LaLonde Affidavit on Emergency Petition
- West Goshen Files Petition for Injunction Press Release
- Public Utility Commission Denial of Emergency Injunction
- Public Utility Commission Denial Ratification of Emergency Injunction
- Sunoco Mariner II Construction Notice of Violation
- Initial Pre-Conference Hearing Document
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Why did West Goshen Township sue Sunoco Logistics?
West Goshen Township filed a lawsuit against Sunoco Logistics in March, 2017 after it was discovered that Sunoco Logistics was not abiding by the May, 2015 Settlement Agreement, namely that Sunoco Logistics, without the required notice to West Goshen Township, moved the automatic valve locations for the Mariner II pipelines.
Why did Sunoco Logistics breach the Settlement Agreement if it agreed to it in the first place?
The Township has yet to determine why Sunooco Logistics has breached the Settlement Agreement, but the current litigation aims to determine why the breach occurred and find a remedy.
What is the economic impact of the Mariner II pipelines on West Goshen Township?
First, the project scuttled an approximately $35,000,000 approved land development project, namely Traditions Independent Living, at the unauthorized location of the Mariner II valve stations on the eastern side of Boot Road at Rt. 202. The Traditions development project would have provided approximately $400,000 in road improvements to the congested intersection of Rt. 202 / Boot Road / Greenhill Road. In addition, the project would have provided over $100,000 in building permit fees and significant earned income and real estate taxes to the Township. The Traditions project would have provided a nearby independent living facility accessible to retired Township residents.
Second, building a 10,000 square foot valve station on the eastern side of Rt. 202 at Boot Road effectively stops any economic development or land development of the remaining parcel, given that the proposed valve station is situated in the middle of the parcel. This parcel will become tax-exempt, given the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and many Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rulings that Sunoco Logistics is a tax-exempt public utility.
What’s it costing West Goshen Township to fight Sunoco Logistics?
As of July 2018 and since early 2014, West Goshen Township has expended over $705,000 in legal fees fighting Sunoco Logistics. These legal fees are in addition to the countless Township staff hours devoted to this issue.
May West Goshen Township recover its legal fees for this fight?
West Goshen Township may seek recovery of legal fees for this prolonged fight, but the Public Utility Commission would have to approve recovery of legal fees.
What’s the Mariner I & II project worth to Sunoco Logistics?
The project installation costs just for the two Mariner II pipeline projects is estimated at $3,500,000,000. Profits for Sunoco Logistics after project completion are unknown.
How much will Sunoco Logistics be paying to the West Goshen Township to run the two new pipelines through the Township?
How long will this litigation go on?
The current litigation should be complete by September 2018.
Why didn’t West Goshen Township just tell Sunoco Logistics it did not want any new pipelines installed in the Township?
After Sunoco Logistics applied for and received Public Utility status, the Township no longer had any jurisdiction over the installation of the pipelines. The Township enacted an Ordinance in 2014 that prohibited the installation of private pipelines in residential areas, but following Sunoco Logistics’ approval as a Public Utility by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Township’s jurisdiction over pipelines was removed.