Last week Judge Elizabeth Barnes – the same judge for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission that shut down construction of the Mariner East 2 project in May, only to have the order overturned by the PUC – presided over a case brought by a few landowners in Chester and Delaware counties as a last-ditch effort to use the legal system to halt the Mariner East project. The complaint at issue has already been upheld by the PUC as a whole, as well as the courts on multiple occasions.
Jim Willis of Marcellus Drilling News was quick to point out the biased reporting by the anti-pipeline funded State Impact Pennsylvania and reminded readers that Judge Barnes previously ruled against the pipeline in a gross display of “arrogance and seizure of power” that she seems likely to abuse again.
Judge Barnes is expected to announce her decision by December 10th or 11th where it will then proceed to the Commission itself later in the month. Barnes’ May decision was unanimously overturned and if she rules again based off of personal bias as opposed to legal foundation, we hope she is overturned again. Judges usually don’t like to be overturned, but judgement clouded by ideology sometimes trumps doing the right thing.
Thanks to Jim Willis for presenting facts around this case. Despite claims by the litigants that first responders have not been trained, Willis reminds readers that Sunoco, as part of their Mariner Emergency Responder Outreach program, trained 2,350 firefights, police offices, and first responders across municipalities on pipeline safety protocol and management.
This case is just a last ditch effort by pipeline opponents to shut down a legally permitted project on faulty arguments.