Westtown supervisors disappointed with Sunoco

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Chester County residents gathered at West Chester University’s Sykes Student Union to ask Sunoco Logistics any questions they had about Mariner East 1 and 2 on June 29. (Candice Monhollan)

Chester County residents gathered at West Chester University’s Sykes Student Union to ask Sunoco Logistics any questions they had about Mariner East 1 and 2 on June 29. (Candice Monhollan)

WESTTOWN — The Sunoco Logistics Mariner East 2 project has been relatively quiet in the township – until recently.

Residents knew the pipeline was coming, but they didn’t have the kind of fight their West Goshen neighbors did over a pumping station.

In fact, Westtown supervisors were anticipating a working relationship with Sunoco in regards to the pipeline. But that isn’t what ended up happening.

Residents have begun receiving easement notices from Sunoco that have baffled them. To help them understand what is happening, the supervisors held a special meeting regarding the easements at the beginning of their work session Sept. 8.

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

“We’re just as much in the dark as you are … ” Westtown Supervisor Thomas Haws Jr. told the residents. “To be honest, when they first came here, it looked very promising that they were going to be open and transparent and work with the residents and the communities that it was effecting. Ever since that first roadshow, it has been gone.”

About 10 residents turned out to the meeting to discuss what they have been going through and to compile questions for Sunoco.

The supervisors hope to get answers from Sunoco themselves, but to try and ensure that happens, they had representatives from state Sen. Dominic Pileggi’s and state Rep. Dan Truitt’s offices make presentations at both the meeting and the regularly scheduled supervisors meeting.

Ted Andrews, a longtime resident, is one of the people who has been receiving easement agreements – two, in fact.

“My impression of Sunoco pipeline’s easement agreements is that whoever wrote them was being paid by the number of words they used, how many words would unlikely be recognized by the average person (and) how many ways they can say the same thing different or different things the same way,” he said during the meeting. “The agreement seemed…(filled with) contradictions, errors and inconsistencies embedded in and between frivolous and irrelevant things. An easement agreement is not a one-size-fits-all document. Sunoco needs to write and present a document that is meaningful, concise and accurate.”

Andrews said he found numerous errors and contradictions within the second easement agreement he received.

Some of those errors could have an effect on his neighbors as well.

“… I could effectively be granting an easement that includes some portion of one or the other neighbors’ property, ” Andrews said.

Having this wrong information hasn’t given Andrews any good vibes toward Sunoco.

“I have to comment that if Sunoco doesn’t know the size or the exact location of the easement they require and cannot appropriately document them, then Sunoco doesn’t know or is not in control of what they or their contractors are seeking an easement for or what they are doing,” he said. “While Sunoco pipeline was including non-existing fencing and gates to control nonexistent livestock in the agreement, they ignored that their activity was in close proximity to our well and might contribute to infiltration of pollutants from along the pipeline path.”

Andrews has not signed either document.

The board recommended to the residents that, if they can, to find a lawyer to look over the easement agreements before signing anything.

Some have always begun that process, using a lawyer from Harrisburg.

“It’s completely unacceptable,” Haws said. “They came here and presented to this board that they would be open and transparent with the township and the residents. I was appalled by reading the two easement documents that (Andrews) received. It was cut and paste.”

Those residents who attended the meeting provided a contact e-mail to the supervisors so they can stay in touch with one another if any answers are received from Sunoco.

Though the township has no say in where the pipeline will go, the supervisors do plan to try and help the residents with whatever they can through the entire process.

“As a township, we basically have little or no jurisdiction in interfering with anything about this, but we are all residents of our township and what affects numbers of people affects us all,” said Supervisor Michael Di Domenico.

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