Chester County residents packed a municipal meeting Wednesday to share their concerns about Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P.'s potential next steps following its decision to drop its request for state permission to go around local zoning laws for its pipeline project.
West Goshen Township officials told about 70 residents at Wednesday's Board of Supervisors meeting that settlement talks between the township and Sunoco Logistics about the company's plans in the town were continuing and included safety concessions on the company's part.
David Brooman, a lawyer the township hired to deal with Public Utility Commission matters, said that he could not disclose details of the settlement, but that he expected an agreement within 60 days.
Last Thursday, Sunoco Logistics told the state Public Utility Commission that it wanted to withdraw the last nine of its 31 petitions to be exempt from local zoning ordinances for its Mariner East pipeline project. One of the petitions rescinded last week had been for a pump station in West Goshen.
The company's attempt to evade local laws to shelter 18 pump stations and 17 valve-control stations had drawn anger from residents in municipalities along the 299-mile pipeline, including West Goshen.
West Goshen officials had said they would be willing to go to court if the PUC granted Sunoco Logistics the zoning exemptions it wanted.
The company said last week that it either had gotten zoning approval from the townships or had decided to reengineer the stations so that the shelters in question were no longer necessary.
Sunoco Logistics had asked the PUC to rule that shelters for pump and valve stations along the pipeline are necessary for the good of the public and should be exempt from local zoning rules. The company wants to repurpose the pipeline to transport Marcellus Shale natural gas liquids to Marcus Hook.
Sunoco Logistics said in a statement that it "has been committed to cooperating with municipalities to address their respective needs and concerns."
Township officials also told residents Wednesday that Sunoco Logistics no longer intended build a new pump or valve station in West Goshen, a plan many residents opposed. Instead, officials said, the company will work with its existing pump station in the town.
Some residents questioned whether this concession is feasible, given that Sunoco Logistics plans to build a second pipeline alongside the first. Residents at Wednesday's meeting said they were disappointed that the company's decision to withdraw its petitions to the PUC did not mean it would stop work on its pipeline project. Residents also oppose a flare stack Sunoco Logistics said it wants to build.