Farm owner continues to fight proposed Cumberland County pipeline

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UPPER FRANKFORD TWP., Pa. - Residents in Cumberland County continue to fight the proposed Mariner East 2 pipeline, even after its approval last week by the state.

Sunoco made headlines Wednesday when it said the proposed Mariner East 2 project would require a second pipeline, but that was not a surprise to those fighting the project.

Rolfe Blume, who owns a farm and gun shop in the path of the pipeline, says the right of way documents most landowners signed to clear the way for the project lets them build two pipelines. It's one of many reasons he has opposed the project for years.

“It ruins my farm,” he said. “It goes right through the middle of the farm. right next to the buildings. If you know anything about pipelines, the danger zone of this pipeline if it leaks and blows up, which it can, is a thousand feet on either side.”

The Department of Environmental Protection gave the pipeline project the green light last week, while local courts have sided with Sunoco in its efforts to use eminent domain to seize land for the pipeline, even amid concerns the natural gas from the pipeline would be exported. Environmental groups have also sued to prevent the project’s construction.

“The plans show right now that they're going to open trench a wetland, which means they're going to bring a trackhoe in and dig up the wetlands, dig up a stream crossing,” Blume said. “It's a running stream, [and] they're going to dig it up instead of boring underneath it which they can do.”

Blume is a Navy veteran who admits he's fighting an uphill battle, but says his stand against the pipeline is worthwhile.

“I came home, I worked all my life for what I got, now they want to steal it from me,” he said. “I don't think that's fair.”

Blume continues to fight the project in Commonwealth Court. A hearing is set for March 6.