Sunday, March 26, 2017

Keeping Sunoco Logistics Accountable

There's lots to keep up with as we transition from fossil fuels to our Regenerative Fossil-Free Future! If you have questions about the information below, contact Deirdre Lally, Pipeline Organizer, Clean Air Council


  • 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?
  • Regardless of whether or not you signed a new easement agreement YOU HAVE RIGHTS!  
  • Make sure Sunoco is not using more land than you agreed to or that the court imposed on you.

  1. Have your house, all structures, well, sewer or septic  inspections done immediately; before Sunoco begins construction.  Document their integrity.   Ask a local realtor  for recommendations for home inspectors.  Sunoco has publically stated they will pay for your independent studies.
  2. If you can afford a survey ($800-$1300), get an independent survey of:
    1. The existing ROW
    2. The proposed ROW
3. 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 yourself: see below for guidelines*
    3. Mark your easement boundaries with yellow caution tape to clearly document work outside the limits.  Marking properties along the project with yellow caution tape 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.
    4. 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 @ It will remain confidential.
  1. You have the right to post no trespassing signs outside the permanent & temporary ROW.
  2. You have the right to press trespassing charges if the contractor is unwilling or unable to confirm that they are not trespassing.
  3. Introduce yourself to the construction crews.  Surveyors, construction crews, welders, are going to be working on your land.  They are not responsible for decisions made by regulators nor for this project being initiated by Sunoco.  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 best results.

  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 nor 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).  Remember this project has gone through route changes.  Make sure your agreement matches where they are constructing.  
  2. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to ask for a copy of the map the contractor is using and compare it your easement agreement.  The contractor may only have one copy - take a cell photo - ask that they bring a copy for you when they come back - or ask for their copy before they leave as they have more.
  3. 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.  Surveying is OK at this point - it will help you determine if the work will be compliant to your agreement.

  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 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’ wide permanent easement and a 20’ wide temporary easement on each side of the permanent ROW, the 20’ temporary work space typically has a use limit of 36 months - check your easement agreement.    
  4. If Sunoco tells you their circa 1930 or 1962 easement allows them to use land beyond your ROW, they are likely wrong.  Some older easements 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.

If you believe work is being done outside of allowed boundaries - or environmental conditions are not being adhered to, you should take these steps:
  1. Call the PA Department of Environmental Protection Statewide complaint hotline @ 1-888-723-3372
  2. Call regional offices at the following numbers:
    • Southeast: (484) 250-5991
    • Southcentral: (717) 705-4709
    • Southwest: (412) 442-44184
    • Ask them to come out immediately if you suspect and environmental issue  - wait for them if you can.
  3. Call your police department and your township officials
  1. Adjacent or adjoining properties may 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 immediately; before Sunoco begins construction.  Document the integrity of each.   Ask a local realtor for recommendations for home inspectors.  Sunoco has publically stated they will pay for independent studies. They may pay for studies on neighboring properties depending on proximity.
  3. Don’t try to be a good guy by allowing 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

*Measuring your ROW:
  1. Sunoco will mark their ROW, usually marking the centerline of the existing pipeline or pipe to be placed. The below 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, 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 / Existing ROW.  Install tape along the entire length of your property.  Engage your neighbor in doing the same.

Deirdre Lally
Pipeline Organizer
Clean Air Council