To the editor


When is a profit venture, whose objective is to transport fossil fuel to export terminals bound for
global markets, a public utility? When is appeal to eminent domain to advance the fortunes of
multinational corporations just? Answer: Never. Case in point: Sunoco was denied appeal to the use of
eminent domain by Judge Stephen Linebaugh (3.25.14) because Sunoco is a pipeline carrier and not a
public utility. "Officials for Williams Partners [WPZ], which wants to build a 35‐mile Marcellus Shale
natural gas line the length of Lancaster County, north to south, said Wednesday that the court case
has no bearing on their project... Williams is under the jurisdiction of the Natural Gas Act not the
Interstate Commerce Act like Sunoco, and would need to get its power of eminent domain if the
project is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC]." However, although FERC
claims to "work with" corporations like WPZ to insure the safety of pipeline construction, "[t]he
Commission has no jurisdiction over pipeline safety or security.” Notable as well, FERC virtually never
denies a permit application.

As reported by Keep Tap Water Safe, Sunoco's set back was barely even that. The company paused to
reload, hired former DEP secretary, Michael Krancer (who was forced to resign), now attorney for
Blank Rome, who stood ready to deploy the industry friendly oil and gas laws—and property
condemnations—that he helped craft during his tenure at DEP. Fact is, "Sunoco must export large
amounts of gas liquids in order to be profitable. Selling a little propane to the locals on the side does
not a public utility make," and that is what's directly relevant to WPZ's plans for the Atlantic Sunrise
pipeline. Selling a little natural gas to the locals does not a profit make. Becoming a public utility on
the way to global export‐that's where the big bucks are.

In other words, if you don't sign over your land to the landman when he knocks your door, he's going
to try to take it from you anyways, and that’s called theft. The Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline is not a public
utility; it is WPZ’s latest effort to externalize its costs and internalize (not to mention off‐shore) its
profits. All that hype about "American," "energy security," and "cheap" is just to get you to sign away
your property to a multinational masquerading as a neighbor. WPZ is poised to steal from you through
the sheer force of FERC permit approval what it can't extort from you through your signature. Now
that you know, make sure your neighbors do to.

But if you're not convinced that this appeal to eminent domain is theft, consider the wise words of
Michael Faherty, attorney representing landowners in just such cases against the gas
industry: “Landowners need to be wary about these companies that come looking to acquire land,
they don’t have an obligation to be telling the truth.” No obligation to tell you the truth. Seriously, why
would anyone with any sense sign a contract with a company who's willing to use the power of
eminent domain condemnation to get what they want, whose product is extracted and processed at
immense cost to the health, environments, and property values of the people it leaves behind when
the boom goes bust, and whose singular aim is to export to the highest bidder—whoever and
wherever they are? When WPZ knocks on your door, tell them no. When they say they’ll be back, get
an attorney, and go talk to your neighbors. Actually‐‐go talk to your neighbors now.

Bambi Hanson
The Shale Justice Coalition
593 words.

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