In February 2016, Ohio Judge T. Shawn Hervey issued a ruling in the case of “Sunoco Pipeline L.P.[1] vs. Carol A. Teter, trustee of the Carol A. Teter Revocable Living Trust et. al.” In his decision, Judge Hervey ruled that liquefied propane[2] and butane are considered petroleum.  

Based upon the court’s decision, Sunoco Pipeline, L.P.[3] can now use eminent domain pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code to gain permanent and temporary easements across the Teter farm in order to put the pipeline through the land.  Sunoco is building the Mariner East 2 Pipeline which will run from Scio, Ohio, to Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, carrying liquefied propane and butane.  

The lawsuit was initially filed in May of 2015 by Sunoco Pipeline against Teter at a time when the Teters were the last landowners in the line of the Sunoco Pipeline in Harrison County that did not have an easement for the Sunoco Pipeline.  The Teter family purchased the 162-acre farm in 2001 with an existing Enterprise Pipeline on the property. Then, in 2010, the APEX pipeline was built along the existing pipeline, both of which are on the south end of the Teter property.  The Teter family had argued, in part, that Sunoco is not a “common carrier” and that liquefied propane and butane are not considered petroleum under the terms of the Ohio Revised Code.  

Judge Hervey ruled in favor of Sunoco and found that pure liquefied propane and butane meet Ohio’s statutory definition of “petroleum” in the Ohio Revised Code.

He also said the pipeline is a common carrier and that it is necessary to transport propane and butane. He added that the pipeline services a public use providing consumers access to Ohio products.  Although the landowners did not win at the county court level, they are appealing it to the Seventh District Court of Appeals with plans to continue to the Ohio Supreme court if necessary.  

Contact an Ohio Condemnation Attorney

Landowners who believe they may be affected by the Sunoco Pipeline or any other Ohio project should contact an eminent domain attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of Sever Storey, LLP are dedicated to protecting the rights of landowners and ensuring that each client they represent obtains the full and fair value of any taking of their property that may occur. We represent both commercial and residential landowners in disputes ranging from small setbacks to takings involving millions of dollars. Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.


[1] https://www.farmanddairy.com/news/judge-propane-and-butane-are-petroleum/329686.html
[2] http://www.propane101.com/propaneliquidandvapor.htm
[3] http://www.sunocologistics.com/Customers/Business-Lines/Natural-Gas-Liquids-NGLs-Segment/257/