I woke up thinking about Marsh Creek again this morning. I will preface this post with did you know the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline had been stopped in July?
By Erin Cox and Gregory S. Schneider
July 5, 2020 at 7:07 p.m. EDT
The two energy companies behind the controversial 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Sunday abandoned their six-year bid to build it, saying the project has become too costly and the regulatory environment too uncertain to justify further investment.
The natural-gas pipeline would have tunneled under the Appalachian Trail on its way from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina…Property rights advocates in the Appalachians joined with an ashram in central Virginia and black Baptists from a rural county to make opposing the pipeline a high-profile political and social justice issue….Virginia-based Dominion Energy and North Carolina-based Duke Energy spent $3.4 billion on the project….But company officials said in a statement that other recent federal court rulings linked to the Keystone XL pipeline have heightened the litigation risk, extended the project’s timeline and further ballooned the cost of the project…(Washington Post 7/5/2020)
So if the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline have been stopped, why not Mariner II?
I do not know how you could have missed the news this week. It started when Sunoco/Energy Transfer breached the aquifer and mud emerged from the ground while drilling on Saturday on Shoen Road. This is where my friend Ginny lives. I will let her words from five days ago be heard now:
It was a rough day y’all. Started before 6am with Sunoco violating our township noise ordinance. Then at 1:40pm I sent an email to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection staff in charge of Mariner East informing them that Sunoco’s plan to handle a frac-out of drilling mud on our property was failing and instead of Sunoco stopping drilling as required or the DEP forcing them to, they all did NOTHING. Two hours later there was a river of drilling mud flowing across our property. All this while an estimated 250,000 gallons of formerly pristine groundwater pour down the drill hole every 24 hours to be hauled away as residual waste….. enough to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool every two days. This is expected to continue for a few months.
The upside of all this: As I stood at the road, amongst a crowd of township police and glaring workers and security, and with the support of friends, people from our community driving by gave thumbs up and bold raised fists.
Community power. Defend what you love.~ Ginny Kerslake 8/10/2020
And I watched live videos where it looked like my friend Ginny was being menaced on her own property? It has been crazy. My friend Ginny, however, is grace under pressure. And she pointed out on Tuesday:
As an estimated 250,000 gallons of ground water per day gushes down the borehole from the Mariner East HDD on Shoen Road in West Whiteland Township to be hauled away as waste, after Sunoco beached the aquifer yet again, let’s look at the situation in Edgemont, Delaware county where Mariner East drilling also destroyed private wells. But unlike in West Whiteland, THERE IS NO PUBLIC WATER OPTION.
Erica Tarr’s family has been without clean running water for several months. They have had to dig a new well and put in expensive filtration devices to no success and at great expense to them. Aqua PA has quoted them $500,000 to extend a new public water line to their home. Sunoco had done nothing for them. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has done nothing for them.
Where’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro? He has been investigating Mariner East for over a year now. Meanwhile this family is denied our constitutional right to clean water. So many families have been denied this right along this egregious project and in Western PA due to fracking, many without the resources to fight or fix, or without even knowing their water was contaminated. Where’s Governor Tom Wolf?
A reminder of Pennsylvania’s Green Amendment, proudly passed in 1971:
“The Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA), (Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution), states: The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.”
What’s there to be proud of Pennsylvania?
~ Ginny Kerslake 8/11/2020
Ginny had this to say today:
As the DEP investigation into and cleanup of the drilling lubricant spill into Marsh Creek continues, so too do the investigations at Shoen Road where Sunoco has breached the aquifer and mud emerged from the ground while drilling on Saturday.
In a bold-faced life Sunoco claims they did not breach the aquifer, though they did it in 2017 and 2019 in their previous failed attempts and 250,000 gallons of water has been flowing back through the pilot hole and is being pumped 24/7 from drill pit.
And why isn’t the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection doing the appropriate analysis to determine an inadvertent return?
Time for the DEP to pull the permits
“This is an example of the crisis of our time. The people of Pennsylvania have a right to clean air and pure water, public health, safety and private property.
“Yet the priority seems to be protecting a multi-national, private, for-profit corporation, which then exploits and degrades our resources, our quality of life and our health and safety. Who does our government work for?”~ Ginny Kerslake 8/14/2020
So what is Ginny talking about? Why the fouling of Marsh Creek by Sunoco/Energy Transfer this week. Lots of us, myself included have kept kids away from beautiful Marsh Creek since the polluting event this week.
Marsh Creek. A simply beautiful place loaded with wildlife. Where drinking water lives.
I first learned about Marsh Creek in my early 20s. I had a roommate back then who had grown up in the Downingtown area. Her mother worked for the EPA, so they were a family who completely respected the majesty of nature and were pro-environment back then.
I was fascinated by Marsh Creek when I first saw it. As the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says on their website:
Marsh Creek State Park was developed to help manage the water resources in the Brandywine Creek Watershed. Frequent flooding, water shortages, and lack of recreational opportunities were problems in the watershed.
The park was formerly a combination of rolling, wooded hills and small farms located on both sides of the Marsh Creek valley. The former village of Milford Mills is now under 30 to 50 feet of water. All of the buildings were removed; leaving only a few roads, foundations, and the embankments to the Larkin’s Bridge under the lake.
The lake was created by the damming of Marsh Creek. Construction of the dam occurred between May 1970 and June 1973. The impoundment is a 90-foot-high, 990-foot-long earth and rock fill dam on Marsh Creek, a tributary of the East Branch of Brandywine Creek.
On November 16, 1973, the gates of the dam were closed. The lake reached normal pool stage 218 days later on June 21, 1974.
At normal pool elevation of 359.5 feet above sea level, the impoundment covers an area of 535 acres plus a 25-acre wetland. The lake volume is 13,000 acre-feet (4.4 billion gallons) with a maximum depth of 80 feet at the dam.
The Marsh Creek watershed comprises 20 square miles of the Brandywine Creek watershed, which is part of the Delaware River Basin.~ Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
My friend historian Catherine Quillman wrote a book about Milford Mills.
Way back in the first half of the 19th century, there was the tiny town of Milford Mills. A little village, really.
Little houses in the midst of sprawling farm country. A one room school house, a bridge, a general school.
Only in Your State says “Local legend also tells of a majestic mansion with 44 rooms. It was here, so goes the story, that supposed gangster Max Boo Boo Huff spent five years – from 1930 to 1935 – in the mansion, running a modern-day bar during Prohibition. Huff’s departure gave way to a new owner who turned the mansion into a resort.”
The village of Milford Mills existed until around 1970 when federal and local authorities decided a dam and a reservoir would be built there. The plans for Marsh Creek Dam meant the end of Milford Mills. I am told residents tried to fight it, but they lost and the village was razed. The dam was built and the man-made lake began to fill up with water. In 1974 or so the Marsh Creek Lake had a reported 100,000 fish added to it. The remnants of Milford Mills became the ghost town under the lake.
Marsh Creek was built to address water issues. It was built to provide drinking water for the Chester County Resources Authority. Apparently, previously there had been shortages. Also addressed by the creation of Marsh Creek? Alleviation of seasonal flooding. Of course I have to wonder given the intensity of infill development including around Marsh Creek if that still helps as much as they had thought it would. The park was also created and there are all sorts of things to do there. You can hike around and look at the ruins of Milford Mills, picnic, swim, sail, fish.
So when I first saw Marsh Creek it was I guess the late 1980s. I was in awe of how pretty it was plus fascinated by the mob stories and probable urban legend of wise guys ending up in the lake.
But now what lies ahead for Marsh Creek? How fouled is the water? Will we ever really know? What we do know is thanks to the brilliant activists.
Drilling fluid used in Sunoco Pipeline LP’s Mariner East project in Chester County leaked into Marsh Creek Lake in a state park of the same name on Monday — one of three incidents in recent days along the pipeline construction project route.
Virginia Cain, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said the agency is investigating the three incidents, which occurred at two project sites, in West Whiteland and Upper Uwchlan Townships.
The DEP said the first leak occurred on the 100 block of Shoen Road in West Whiteland on Saturday. Both the DEP and the Fish and Boat Commission responded and tested water to see if it contained drilling fluids. Drilling was stopped to await an analysis of the liquid.~ Philadelphia Inquirer 8/11/2020
And this heinous fouling of Marsh Creek Lake is not the only pipeline problem this summer. More and more sinkholes keep cropping up:
Inquirer: State investigating new sinkholes along Mariner East pipeline
by Andrew Maykuth, Posted: July 17, 2020
Pennsylvania pipeline inspectors announced Friday that they are investigating a new series of sinkholes that have opened up along Sunoco Pipeline LP’s Mariner East project route in Chester County after cracks were reported in the pavement of Business Route 30 in Exton, impacting some traffic.
Public Utility Commission safety inspectors are investigating subsidence that has occurred since July 10 in places where the controversial pipeline is under construction. The incidents happened not far from the West Whiteland Township location where sinkholes formed over the last two years, forcing several construction halts and service disruptions on the operating pipelines.~ Philadelphia Inquirer 7/17/2020
I just. Can’t. Even. What in the hell has to happen to be enough? Is this enough to get these people out of our communities? These pipelines are the things you hear about, but if you don’t live close enough to a pipeline site you think we are all a collective of drama queens.
I used to think that it was mostly drama before I moved to Chester County. I thought “oh it can’t possibly be that bad.” Then there are the moments that stick in your head. One such moment occurred for me a couple of years ago. We invited Adelphia Gateway which wishes to do Sunoco-like projects to a parlor meeting in my living room. My friend Ginny sat on my sofa with tears in her eyes as she recounted what had happened to her and her family at the hands of pipelines at that point.
This parlor meeting was July 25, 2018. I will note that questions we gave to the PR talking head sent to handle us have to date never, ever been answered. Adelphia Gateway will have my entire neighborhood within a blast zone if they proceed, and we are on wells. There is not public water for us so what has happened this week on Shoen Road and at Marsh Creek is EXACTLY what I worry about along with the sinkholes and well, the very real fear of any of these lines blowing up.
Anti-pipeline activists are still painted as these awful people. Ladies and gentleman, they are your neighbors. People you socialize with. Go to church with. Your friends. My friends.
For the recent primary election, the pipeline proponents, supporters, etc spent a crazy amount of money to try to still our voices by attacking candidates who speak for us. Ginny Kerslake did not prevail in the end in the primary against sheeple Kristine Howard, but my other friend Danielle Friel Otten did survive and crushed her opponent. If that pro-pipeline money had NOT been spent, I believe Kristine Howard would have gone down in flames. She still can if people are now smart and get behind a third friend, Wendy Graham Leland. I know it is only a matter of time before Camp Lameass Howard starts in on her. I wish them luck there, but I digress. I know some amazing women, but I digress again. (Sorry I do that sometimes.)
Lookee here however, remember that the politics intertwined in the pipeline issues are very important. It’s a ridiculous game of who is on first.
People, we need to be first.
Please call on our leaders to demand Governor Wolf Pull the Mariner East Permits PERMANENTLY:
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Chester County Commissioners fired off this today:
However, allow me to also share some other things I have seen:
Upper Uwchlan…Upper Uwchlan please don’t tell me you people are going to be ostriches sticking your head into drilling mud laced with bentonite? Sigh.
And here are things I would like you to read:
My ChesCo: COMMUNITIES / OP-ED / PENNSYLVANIA
Connecting the Dots: Marsh Creek . . . District 13 and CWA
August 13, 2020 – by Richard Ruggieri
The pipeline leak into Marsh Creek earlier this week was an avoidable water emergency. To make matters worse, Marsh Creek is a source of drinking water for people in that community. Sunoco/Energy Partners demonstrates by their actions that they have little regard for the impact their negligence has on the community.
The issue surrounding water in Chester County is at its tipping point and is nothing less than a PA Constitution crisis. It is possible to support progress and be good stewards of our natural resources at the same time. In fact, our PA Constitution demands it, Article I, Section 27 says: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”….AQUA is also engaging in a hostile takeover effort of our local water authority, Chester Water Authority (CWA). You may have seen the many, many SAVE CWA and Save Octoraro Reservoir yard signs in yards and on highways. AQUA wants to buy CWA. AQUA wants CWA because it stands to make billions on the deal, pulling vast amounts of money out of our fragile local economy. It also wants valuable public natural resources including the Octoraro Reservoir and 2000 acres of CWA land assets…..Will our water be sent to Northern Chester County for fracking?~ Richard Ruggieri candidate for State Representative for District 13, learn more about him and his campaign at RuggieriPA13.com. 8/13/2020
As per a Daily Local report in 2019, there is a relationship between AQUA and Energy Transfer:
Sunoco/Energy Transfer, the company behind the problematic and controversial Mariner East pipeline project, is in business with Aqua America, which provides water service to thousands of residents in Chester County, state Sen. Andy Dinniman revealed Friday.
“It is important that citizens know the relationship between companies involved with the Mariner East pipeline,” Dinniman said.
According to Energy Transfer’s 2018 annual report, the company owns a 51 percent stake in Aqua – ETC Water solutions, characterized as a “joint venture that transports and supplies fresh water to natural gas producers drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.”~ Daily Local News 6/28/2019
Talk about an unholy alliance, right? So Sunoco/Energy Transfer fouls the water. AQUA PA is public water and they are trying to take over the Chester Water Authority ? So that also guilt by association (or investment) means they are fouling Marsh Creek and so on but then they would have control over our water if AQUA PA takes over CWA?
Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ. (Yes I am an Outlander fan.) But seriously? You can’t make this stuff up! We are living it! And to what end? The destruction of where we call home and our water resources for freaking corporate profits?
My Chesco: COMMUNITIES / GOVERNMENT / PENNSYLVANIA
After Energy Transfer Debacle, Otten and Muth Invite Legislators and Public Officials to Observe Marsh Creek State Park
August 13, 2020 – by MyChesCo – Leave a Comment
My Chesco: NEWS
Wolf Administration Outlines Actions Underway in Wake of Pipeline Drilling Spill Affecting Marsh Creek State Park, Chester County
August 14, 2020 – by MyChesCo – Leave a Comment
WHYY : WATERSHED
Paddle protest at Marsh Creek Lake calls for Mariner East shutdown
By Susan Phillips August 13, 2020
AUGUST 11, 2020 | 7:17 PM
NBC10 Philadelphia: MARINER EAST PIPELINE
8K Gallons of Drilling Fluid From Controversial Pipeline Project Leak Into Lake
BY JAMISON COCKLIN
August 13, 2020
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has responded to several reports of fluid discharges at construction sites for the Mariner East pipeline system in Chester County, including a confirmed spill at a state park.~ Natural Gas Intelligence 8/13/2020
Operation at the drill site has been suspended indefinitely.
Harrisburg, PA — The Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Environmental Protection (DEP) assured Marsh Creek State Park supporters that concerted efforts are underway to safeguard visitors and park resources in the wake of Monday’s pipeline drilling fluid spill affecting the lake; and that Energy Transfer will be held accountable to the full extent of the law.
“We are deeply concerned and troubled over this significant resource and recreation impact at Marsh Creek that comes at a time when that park, as are all our parks, is seeing incredible visitation rates amid the pandemic,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “Drawing more than 1 million visitors a year, Marsh Creek is among our most visited park, and water-based activities are the catalyst for that draw.
“The popularity of paddle-boarding alone is phenomenal at Marsh Creek Lake, and anglers and other boaters can be found daily on the lake. Containment, water testing, and remediation are underway, and access to affected water and shoreline will be restricted.”
Noting the park’s connecting trails and other strong ties to surrounding communities, Dunn said, “DCNR recognizes this park is beloved by those who live nearby and is an important resource to the people and businesses of surrounding communities. I feel it is important to let them know we’re standing by them on this.”
On Monday, August 10, DEP responded to a report from Sunoco of a potential inadvertent return at HDD 290, a drill site off Green Valley Road in Marsh Creek State Park in Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County. Operation at the drill site has been suspended indefinitely.
Used in Sunoco Pipeline LP’s Mariner East project in Chester County, an estimated 8,100 gallons of drilling fluid (mud and water) leaked into wetlands off park property and into a tributary to Marsh Creek Lake. The spill is affecting the lake’s cove area along Park Road.
What’s The Status
Buoys will be used on the lake to delineate the affected area.
Approximately 33 acres of the 535-acre lake is now off-limits to boating and fishing.
Offering a swimming pool, the park does not permit beach-based swimming. Boating and fishing still is permitted on the rest of the lake, and the park remains open to all other activities.
“With the assistance of DEP, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, private contractors, and our park personnel, we are focusing on containment, cleanup, and remediation, and we need the public’s cooperation,” Dunn said. “Aiding that effort are DCNR park managers and rangers, as well as our aquatic specialists who will be gauging the spill’s effect on water quality and lake aquatic life.”
What’s Being Done
DEP, along with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), continue to investigate and oversee the cleanup of the inadvertent return into Marsh Creek, said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
At the conclusion of the investigation, DEP anticipates that there will be civil penalties and potentially other regulatory ramifications.
Drilling activity at the site has ceased until further notice.
“Since the spill occurred on Monday, clean-up crews have made significant progress in collecting and containing spilled material. DEP aquatic biologists have been onsite since the beginning of the incident to assess the spill and ensure that cleanup activities are conducted properly. Downstream drinking water intakes have been notified and there are no concerns about drinking water safety. There have not been any complaints of impacted private water wells,” McDonnell said. “DEP is also actively coordinating with experts at DCNR, Department of Health, Army Corps of Engineers, and Public Utility Commission to ensure that the ongoing situation is managed consistently and safely. DEP has consistently held Sunoco accountable for violations and will do so in this instance as well.”
Located in northcentral Chester County, Marsh Creek’s lake and 1,784 acres offer a refuge for migrating waterfowl and also are popular with hikers, hunters, and picnickers.
More information about Marsh Creek and Pennsylvania’s other 120 state parks is available on the DCNR website.
MEDIA CONTACT: Terry Brady, DCNR, 717-877-6315;~ Commonwealth of PA Press Release 8/14/2020
Virginia Cain, DEP, 484-868-2452
Daily Local: Officials claim pipeline workers breached aquifer at Shoen Road in Chester County
By Bill Rettew 13 hrs ago
WEST WHITELAND — Sunoco/Energy Transfer workers hit and breached an underground aquifer at Shoen Road which since then has fouled 250,000 gallons per day of fresh drinking water, according to State Sen. Danielle Friel Otten, D-155th, of Uwchlan, and Shoen Road resident Ginny Kerslake.
The two women estimate that 50 trucks, with a capacity of 5,000 gallons each, have daily been removing water from the drill site of the Sunoco Mariner East pipeline.
Sunoco/ET spokesperson Lisa Coleman responded with a one-sentence comment.
“We did not impact the aquifer at Shoen Road,” wrote Coleman on Aug. 11.~ Bill Rettew, The Daily Local 8/14/2020
UPPER UWCHLAN—On Friday morning, local public officials and legislators paddled to the site of Monday’s Marsh Creek Sunoco pipeline construction spill of about 10,000 gallons of drilling mud to monitor the mitigation process.
State Rep Danielle Friel Otten, D-155th, of Uwchaln and state Sen. Katie Muth, D-44th, of Royersford invited the dignitaries to view the damage and cleanup firsthand. They visited the popular state park lake via paddleboards, kayaks and canoes.
State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-157th, of Schuylkill said that the 10,000 gallon spill is alarming.
“I’m here to make sure our public parks are clean and the air around them is clean so people can enjoy,” she said. “Public parks are for all of us to enjoy.”
State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166th of Haverford, discussed meeting climate change goals.
“We can’t continue to build fossil fuel infrastructure and reach our goals,” he said.
“Marsh Creek is a valuable ecological and recreation area and I was very concerned when I learned of the spill.
“I wanted to see firsthand the extent of the damage and the progress of cleanup efforts. I was pleased to see both cleanup workers and representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on the scene….In addition to Friel Otten, Muth, Vitali, Shusterman and D’Amico, state Rep. Dan Williams, D-74th, of Coatesville came out, as well as Chairman Bill Miller from Uwchlan Township and Rebecca Britton, Vice President of Downingtown Area School Board.~ Bill Retter, Daily Local News 8/14/2020
So…who was NOT there at Marsh Creek today? HOW ABOUT STATE REPRESENTATIVE KRISTINE HOWARD? KRISTINE, IF IT ISN’T A PHOTO OP WITH GOVERNOR TOM WOLF AND CAROLYN COMITTA YOU CAN’T BE BOTHERED?
AND OH YES WHERE WAS CAROLYN COMITTA (AND WHO IS RUNNING AGAINST HER FOR STATE SENATE NOW)? AFTER ALL IT WAS ESSENTIALLY A YEAR AGO WHEN SHE “TOURED” THE PIPELINES WITH KRISTINE HOWARD AND TOM WOLF RIGHT? THERE WAS A FAB PHOTO OP AND THE PHOTOS HAVE LONG SINCE DISAPPEARED HAVEN’T THEY?
PLEASE VIEW THIS NEXT SCREEN SHOT WHILE IMAGINING BARBARA STREISAND SINGING “MEMORIES”:
While we are on the topic of who has and has not been to Marsh Creek can we mention that Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro should have been there over the past few days?
Enough is enough #WaterIsLife #DefendWhatYouLove
I do not know about you but I am over this pipeline bullsheit. Over it. Ever new adventure in the land of pipeline drama is worse than the last. These pipeline companies are destroying where we live and don’t try to spin the crap that they employ locally unless Oklahoma and all the other states that make up the out of state license plates are suddenly IN Chester County?
We put our lives and sweat equity into where we call home. So why is it government is just allowing it all to be destroyed? Systemic corruption? Greed? What?
I don’t know where to go in my head. I grew up around oil companies. My father did PR for one for years. Years. But all the pipelines I ever knew about then were petroleum. Like the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which started operating in 1977. Of course in that same vein, I remember the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in 1989. And I remember how the guy driving the tanker (while drinking) got off without felony charges.
As my friends from Just The Facts Please said regarding this latest jackassery word puzzle from Energy Transfer:
These [idiots] just can’t help themselves with their lies and stupidly worded statements. Marsh Creek IS an important drinking water source for this region. But I guess Kelcy Warren wouldn’t know that from his tower in Texas.
ETP states, “As a clarification to some public statements that have been made, no public drinking water has been impacted.”~Just the Facts Please. Facebook 8/14/2020
Kelcy Warren is the CEO of Energy Transfer. And Chairman of the Board of Directors. And he hosted Trump’s Dallas Fundraiser in June (What COVID-19?). Supposedly this is an email to reach him : firstname.lastname@example.org – also found this which lists Energy Transfer Executives. Also found this on Energy Transfer’s Website: Office: 214-840-5820
Media@EnergyTransfer.com and InvestorRelations@energytransfer.com (Just in case any of you wish to email Energy Transfer perhaps?)
So where in the Sam Hell do we go from here? I don’t know about you but I want these pipeline operators GONE. As in FOR GOOD. #SafetyOverSunoco #SoOverSuNOco
I know this is a ridiculously long post and I have meandered like a stream. But this Marsh Creek thing makes my head spin. This has to stop. Our elected officials need to man and woman up and kick the pipelines the hell out of Pennsylvania, starting with where we call home, Chester County, PA.
Keep the faith Mama Bears. #DefendWhatYouLove