Cumberland County landowner continues to fight Sunoco pipeline

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NEWVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – The state Supreme Court says it will not hear an appeal by three Cumberland County families fighting the construction of a natural gas pipeline on their properties.

Sunoco Logistics Partners says the pipeline will quadruple the capacity of natural gas transported from western to eastern Pennsylvania.

The pipeline has been a highly contested issue for years, with lawsuits across the state and many from families in central Pennsylvania. It would run through many private properties in 17 counties.

Rolfe Blume took us past the “no trespassing” sign on his drive through his quiet, picturesque property in Newville. He showed us a hole in his backyard.

“They were here for a cultural survey,” Blume said of Sunoco workers on his property Thursday. “They didn’t find no arrowheads, so they said no Indians live here.”

It’s one of many land surveys Blume says he’s been victim to since Sunoco claimed eminent domain gives it the right to build the pipeline on his land and many others.

“It’s my property and I can’t keep them off because the judge says they can do whatever they want,” he said.

The state Supreme Court said Thursday it won’t hear an appeal from three other families in the same boat.

“We’re not quitting,” Blume said.

Blume is appealing his separate lawsuit anyway after a Cumberland County judge ruled in favor of Sunoco earlier this year.

“He said, ‘would a million dollars help you?’ and I said no.”

Sunoco says the 300-mile Mariner East II Pipeline through Pennsylvania provides four times the capacity to move natural gas around the state. It promises to add hundreds of jobs and $100 million to the state’s economy.

Blum says this is at the cost of ripping up his past, where his wife’s family has lived for 74 years, and his future.

“I had plans to build a retirement home out here,” he said.

Sunoco originally planned to start construction in 2016, but recently pushed that date back to mid-to-late 2017.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet.

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