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Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. Sunoco Pipeline L.P.

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20026
Nos. 952 C.D. 2017, (Commw. Ct. Pa., 02/20/2018)

A Pennsylvania court affirmed a lower court decision dismissing residents' and an environmental group's lawsuit challenging the construction of a natural gas pipeline through a suburban township. The plaintiffs argued that a local zoning ordinance prohibits the construction of hazardous gas and liquid pipelines in residential areas. But the corporation seeking to construct the pipeline is regulated as a public utility by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), and the PUC already determined that the proposed expansion was necessary and proper for the service, accommodation, and convenience of the public. Because the township lacks authority to zone out a public utility pipeline service or pipeline facility regulated by the PUC, the zoning ordinance does not apply.