Clean Air Council


How to Protect Your Property and Rights During Mariner East 2 Construction

 

Introduction

  • Do you live on or near the Mariner East 2 Right of Way (ROW)?
  • Is Sunoco staking the ROW or have they started construction of ME 2/2x?
  • Do you wonder if Sunoco Logistics may be working outside of the limits of your easement agreement?
  • You have rights regardless of whether or not you signed a new easement agreement.
  • Make sure Sunoco is not using more land than you agreed to or that the court imposed on you.

*Please note, Sunoco Logistics has merged with Energy Transfer Partners.  For the purpose of this information, we will refer to the pipeline company as Sunoco Logistics.

Landowner Checklist for Protecting Property

  1. Make sure your house, all structures, well, sewer or septic inspections are done to document current conditions before Sunoco begins construction.
    1. Ask a local realtor for recommendations for home inspectors.
    2. Sunoco has publically stated they will pay for independent studies for landowners along the ROW.   If you can afford a survey ($800-$1300), get an independent survey of:
      1. The existing ROW
      2. The proposed ROW
  2. If you can’t afford a survey:
    1. Ask surveyors for a group rate (with your neighbors) or:
    2. Take careful measurements of your property to mark out the ROW.
      1. Sunoco will mark their ROW with survey stakes and tape, and will usually mark the centerline of the existing pipeline or pipe to be placed. The Uniform Color Code Chart will help you determine what has been marked on your land.  Surveyors are required to mark the pipeline and other pipes such as water, propane and sewer.  If you think they’ve missed something, tell them!  This is also a good opportunity to take photos for your records.
      2. Measure from the pipeline marker out 50 feet on each side to determine your total Permanent ROW, Permanent and Temporary ROW, or Existing ROW (whichever applies to your situation).
      3. Mark the entire length of the easement boundaries with yellow caution tape to clearly document work outside the limits. In addition, install caution tape along the entire length of your property. Engage your neighbor in doing the same. Marking properties along the project with yellow caution tape can help prevent environmental damage and also sends a message to Sunoco that landowners are watch-dogging Sunoco Logistics’ construction on their property.  If you need help buying the tape, call (215) 567-4004 x121.
    3. Make a copy of your most current easement agreement – it may supersede or add on to older agreements.  Sit down and read it thoroughly to understand what the easement agreement allows Sunoco to do and what Sunoco is not allowed to do on your land.  Need help on that? Call 484-340-0648 or email a copy to PSC @ lynda@pscoalition.org. It will remain confidential.
    4. Familiarize yourself with the Chapter 105 and Chapter 102 permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for your county.  The links to the permits are provided above under a different website post.  The permits contain specific conditions that Sunoco must follow during the construction process and afterward to prevent environmental damage.  The Erosion and Sediment Control Plans for your county contain additional measures Sunoco must take to protect your property from erosion and storm water damage.  If you believe the conditions in the permits or the Erosion and Sediment Control Plans are not being followed, contact DEP and your County Conservation District to report it. Please contact Clean Air Council with any questions.
  3. You have the right to post no trespassing signs outside the permanent & temporary ROW.
  4. You have the right to press trespassing charges if the contractor is unwilling or unable to confirm that they are not trespassing.
  5. Introduce yourself to the construction crews.  Surveyors, construction crews and welders are going to be working on your land.  They are not responsible for decisions made by regulators or for Sunoco initiating this project.  They are responsible for the safe and accurate installation of the pipes and for respecting your property.  Introducing yourself and others in your home puts a face to the project.  Personalizing who this work is impacting will help you get the best results.

Permanent Right of Way Easements  

  1. You have the right to ensure that Sunoco is staying within the boundaries of the existing or new signed easement agreement.  Sunoco may not construct a pipeline or use temporary workspace outside the bounds of your signed ROW agreement without your written permission and compensation.  They may not extend the limits of the easement, temporarily use more land than you agreed to, or add any component to the project that is not specific to your easement (such as temporary bridges or entrance roads).  This project has gone through route changes, so make sure your agreement matches where Sunoco is constructing.
  2. You have the right to ask for a copy of the map the contractor is using so you can compare it your easement agreement.  If the contractor only has one copy,  take a photo with your cell phone. Ask the contractor to bring a copy for you when they come back or ask for their copy before they leave (since they can get more). If the contractor claims it’s the same map that is on your agreement, tell them there have been so many changes in permitting that you want to make sure.
  3. Company surveying is OK at this point because it will help you determine if Sunoco’s work will be compliant with your agreement.

Temporary Workspace Easements  

  1. If you have not signed a new easement or have not had one imposed on you, and your circa 1930’s or circa 1960’s does not provide a temporary easement (work space), Sunoco does not have a right to use your land outside their existing ROW (Right Of Way) without negotiating an agreement with you.  That agreement must be in writing to protect your rights.
  2. Temporary work space may apply to both open-cut trenching and HDD (underground drilling) properties.
  3. Most temporary easements are effective for the limited time stipulated in your easement.  For example, if you have a 40-foot wide permanent easement and a 20-foot wide temporary easement on each side of the permanent ROW, the 20-foot temporary work space typically has a use limit of 36 months.  Check your easement agreement to ensure you know the timing of temporary easements.
  4. If Sunoco tells you their circa 1930 or 1962 easement allows them to use land beyond your ROW, they are likely wrong.  Know the language of your particular easement.  Some older easements specifically state that the operator “release(s) from the terms of the aforesaid rights of way and easements all of the lands lying outside the said forty feet wide strips of ground, reserving unto itself all rights and privileges…in said right-of-way which are not specifically released by this agreement.”  If this language in your easement, make a copy and show it to Sunoco.

Reporting an Environmental Complaint

If you believe work is being done outside of allowed boundaries – or permit conditions designed to prevent erosion, flooding, damage to streams or wetlands, or other environmental harms are not being adhered to, you should take these steps:

  1. Call the Sunoco Hotline:  855-430-4491. In an East Goshen Township public meeting, Sunoco’s Public Affairs Sr. Manager, Joe McGinn emphasized that anyone with questions or concerns should call the Sunoco hotline. Demand Sunoco re-survey compliant to your easement agreement.
  2. Since time is of the essence, also call and e-mail: Joe McGinn.  His contact information is:
    1. E-mail: JFMCGINN@sunocoinc.com
    2. Office: 215-977-3237
    3. Cell: 610-496-4692
  3. Call the PA Department of Environmental Protection Statewide complaint hotline (888-723-3721).  Let them know you’ve contacted Sunoco and the response you were given, if any.
  4. Call regional offices at the following numbers:
    1. Southeast: (484) 250-5991
    2. Southcentral: (717) 705-4709
    3. Southwest: (412) 442-44184
  5. Call your local County Conservation District:  Use this link to find the phone number, address, e-mail and name of contact
    1. Ask them to come out immediately if you suspect an environmental issue. Wait for them to come if you can.
  6. Call your police department and your township officials.

Protecting Properties Neighboring the Pipeline Route

  1. Adjacent or adjoining properties may also suffer property damages.  Depending on how close a property is to construction, structural damage can occur beyond the construction site.
  2. Neighboring properties should have their house, all structures, well and sewer inspections done to document current conditions before Sunoco begins construction.   Ask a local realtor for recommendations for home inspectors.  Sunoco has publically stated they will pay for independent studies for landowners along the ROW.  Landowners with property adjacent to property along the ROW should also ask for compensation.  Sunoco may pay for studies on neighboring properties depending on proximity to the ROW.
  3. Do not try to be accommodating by allowing the use of your land without a written agreement for compensation and specific details about use and remediation.

Need help knowing what to do?  Let us know:

Pipeline Safety Coalition: (484) 340-0648

Clean Air Council Staff Attorney: (215) 567-4004 x118

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