not our pipeline

Pipeline and sinkhole. Just The Fact Please photo. November, 2017

Before I moved to Chester County, I was somewhat ambivalent about Sunoco and their pipelines. Among other things, I grew up with a father who was for years, in-house PR for a then major oil company.  And part of that was during the Exxon Valdez era.  But oil companies had deep pockets and what did I know? Nothing was near where we lived and those oil company deep pockets were always giving box loads of stuff to schools, bought full page ads in school newspapers for the kids of employees, etcetera.

When you first hear about problems with pipelines, pipeline construction, or even fracking, it is like this fuzzy thing out of focus ahead of you in the haze. It can’t possibly affect you. Until it does. And in my opinion, it is.   I have friends who hail from Western Pennsylvania who literally have been warning people for years.  And they are just nastily labeled “fracktivists”. Guess that is the new label for “concerned citizen”? Because I have got to tell you, the people I knew who once lived in Western PA are…wait for it…MOMS.  You know how dangerous moms are, right?

Then it seems like in an instant but a couple miles in either direction from where you live as far as the crown flies in any direction, stuff starts to happen.

Well issues.

Sinkholes.

You feel like local municipal officials and politicians are just covering their ears saying “na,na,na,na,na,na,na,na,na” in order to NOT have to listen to residents.  Respected environmental activists are labeled as being alarmists.

Then all of a sudden the  PA DEP seems to wake up and temporarily halts work on Sunoco’s Mariner 2 Pipeline.  Only as per residents in some affected Chester County neighborhoods and State Impact by NPR  that might not quite be true as they report on January 9, 2018:

When Danielle Otten woke up Monday morning, she didn’t expect to see men working on the Mariner East 2 pipeline construction site that sits about 40 feet from her backyard, along Devon Drive in Uwchlan Township, Chester County.

For one thing, work in the area had stalled after drilling dried up and damaged nearby water wells this past summer. And just last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a court order halting construction along the 350-mile long pipeline after Sunoco/Energy Transfer Partners continued to violate its permits, causing damage to private water wells, streams and wetlands…..When DEP issued a stop work order to Sunoco last week, it appeared that all work would halt aside from drilling and erosion controls that had to be continued in order to prevent additional environmental damage. But a spokesman for the DEP now tells StateImpact that when it comes to anything other than earth disturbance or water crossings, the agency doesn’t have jurisdiction.

 

In Chester County, as a resident, you can’t avoid the truth of the pipelines. And the risks and dangers. So many of us are on wells. And so many with wells are already having issues. And then there are those other pesky things…you know like sinkholes and so on?

The jarring visuals you see with your own eyes like the beautiful swaths of lands torn assunder are burned into your brain.  Once you see it, you can’t un-see it and you wish you could.

Swing sets and play houses of small children sit in macabre juxtaposition to giant earth moving machines and huge pieces of pipe.

Giant walls, pipes, and earth moving machines also sit across the driveway from senior citizen apartment complexes and grocery stores.

Pipeline so close and on top of churches and schools in addition to residential neighborhoods and please, tell me, how is that safe?

Next to firehouses too? So basically, Sunoco puts those supposed to protect us at risk as well?

You have friends and former neighbors who have Sunoco gobbling up their land for the pipeline.  You count your blessing like we did that we moved long ago from certain parts of Chester County because otherwise this view could be your very own backyard:

Uwchlan Safety Coalition photo

Only you can’t help but wonder if your slice of heaven will remain unmolested by pipelines? Like Medieval Feudal Lords, you are never quite sure what they will swoop in and take, are you?

You are, as residents of Chester County and elsewhere, supposed to bend over and accept these new vistas:

My photo, taken July, 2017

When you say “no I think this is bad” there are people who will  jump all over you. “It’s perfectly safe. You don’t know what you are talking about.”

Perfectly safe? Is that why CBS This Morning ran and over FIVE minute segment on the national news this morning from coast to coast?

Sunoco is raping our land. They are depleting it, irrevocably changing it and in my opinion putting us all at risk.  It is not OUR pipeline, it is THEIR pipeline being forced upon us all and we are not benefiting from it.  This isn’t OUR infrastructure, it’s Sunoco’s infrastructure. What they take is being shipped OVERSEAS.

As another friend Ginny said to others:

Sunoco cannot replace the large, mature trees they are chopping down for this. Nor can they restore the fragile and important wetland there if they wreck it, just as they couldn’t restore the private wells that they wrecked in Marchwood this summer with this pipeline. 

Living with hazardous liquefied natural gas lines is not a part of living in suburbia. In fact it is reckless to put these lines through densely populated areas, right alongside houses, schools, apartment buildings, shopping centers, seniors homes, etc. 

And now, Sunoco also wants Chester County Library’s freaking lawn? (See Dragon Pipe Diary)

When does it stop?  When did Corporate America’s rights become more meaningful than ours in Chester and Delaware Counties and elsewhere in Pennsylvania?  Why are we as residents being forced to live with something that destroys and takes and give nothing back in return? Why don’t residents matter? Why do we spend so much time feeling like our elected officials have forsaken us on this issue?

And why is it when you mention anything about not liking or distrusting pipelines some fool will always hop up and cry foul partisan politics? I mean do they really think we are such imbeciles that an issue which is non-partisan and affects EVERYONE is an example of partisan politics?  Take off the dunce caps, because opposition to Mariner East is clearly bi-partisan.

Pipeline, East Goshen. My photo. Summer/Fall 2017

Today in addition to the CBS News report, Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety is a nonpartisan, fact-based, grassroots coalition of locally-based safety groups, made up of concerned Pennsylvanians from across our Commonwealth issued a press release:

Well guess what? I believe these folks, and this pipeline and it’s march across Chester County and elsewhere terrifies me.  These people protesting are our neighbors and friends. And there are quite the growing numbers of experts, environmentalists and others who believe these residents.

There is also a very important petition circling. It is directed at our rather elusive Governor Tom Wolf on Change.org asking him to protect our communities under the PA Health and Safety Statute.

Please sign and share this petition today.

Here are some articles:

Dragonpipe Diary: Sunoco’s destructive plans for the Chester County Library lawn

State Impact PA Despite DEP order to halt Mariner East 2 construction, some work is still allowedJANUARY 9, 2018 | 5:34 PM Susan Phillips

State Impact: Water problems persist along Mariner East pipeline route despite court interventionOCTOBER 12, 2017 | 5:03 PM BY JON HURDLE

State Impact: DEP issues violation to Sunoco for another spill of drilling fluidAUGUST 30, 2017 | 6:40 PM BY JON HURDLE

grist: BRIEFLY Stuff that matters PIPE DOWN

Daily Local: Pennsylvania DEP shuts down construction on Sunoco gas pipeline By Bill Rettew, brettew@dailylocal,com POSTED: 01/03/18, 5:25 PM EST

Daily Local: DEP accuses Sunoco of unauthorized drilling By Bill Rettew, brettew@dailylocal.com POSTED: 01/02/18, 3:49 PM EST

Daily Times, Phil Heron: Editorial: Economic benefits alone won’t resolve pipeline concerns

Look at the end of the day, did we come to Chester County for this view below? I don’t think so. We need to protect what is ours.  And what is ours, is not necessarily theirs.

#Resist

Uwchlan Safety Coalition Photo

the pipeline destruction of chester county breaks my heart

The ugliness of the Sunoco pipeline takes my breath away every time I see it.

Where there once were trees and beautiful landscapes, all you see is destruction. It’s now a barren, jagged, raped landscape.

I travel down Boot Road, 352, and similar roads and I see the little orange flags that mean what once was someone’s front yard will now be pipeline. I have seen photos all over social media of people’s gardens dying because of what Sunoco has done to the landscape.

Every time you see land that was once graceful and lovely or even just had trees that now has become all jagged and bare and dotted with construction equipment and orange construction fencing you can’t help but wonder how can they not see this? How can they not care? How can our elected officials seemingly not care?

Sunoco has just stomped along and taken what it wants, when it wants, like a big corporate bully that it is. And the people working for them often seem lacking in respect in my opinion for the residents a lot of the time. We all understand that they have jobs to do and families of their own to feed, but do you think they could even be a little bit more considerate where they are parking at times?

Sunoco’s talking heads will tell everyone how they care, but really? Do they think we are stupid? We know they don’t care…..except about their bottom line of course.

It’s like the inalienable rights that we are all supposed to have as US citizens and even as residents of Pennsylvania mean nothing.

And how will we benefit from the pipeline? I don’t think we will and only corporate greed will benefit, correct? How is any of this being done for us?

It would be great if politicians enamored of big gas and big oil would travel the roads and see what we see. Let them deal personally with their land that is part of their home being stolen via eminent domain. (And in my opinion it’s also eminent domain for private gain which is detestable. ) Let these politicians personally deal with wondering if their kids are safe, their first responders are safe, and the drinking water is safe, right? Let them watch their real estate values plummet, right?

So how about it Governor Tom Wolf? U.S. Senator Pat Toomey? Congressman Pat Meehan? Care to walk a mile in the shoes of Chester County, PA and Delaware County, PA residents? Never mind, don’t bother answering we know you don’t care.

This pipeline is a referendum on why we must choose our elected officials on every level better. It might be an off year election this fall but it’s never too early to start. It’s time to clean political house in Pennsylvania.

prom season means prom reminders

Victoria Pan, a senior at Downingtown East High School, earned the grand prize in the Positive Prom Message contest. This is her image as published on Facebook. See https://www.facebook.com/chestercountyAVOID/  https://www.facebook.com/DowningtownAreaCTC

It’s prom season. And well, prom is a lot different then the “good old days”. This beautiful illustration was the Positive Prom Message winner and Miss Victoria Pan at Downingtown East is the artist.  I hope Victoria doesn’t mind me featuring her art in this post – it is a beautifully executed and powerful piece of art that demonstrates maturity beyond her high school years.  Plus I just like it.

A lot of these proms are not close to home.  They can be at venues quite far away.   Lots of schools have parent group sponsored after prom activities,  instead of after parties of glory days gone by.

No matter how time has passed, it is still a terrific night to be a teenager and a nail biter of an evening to be a parent.

You want your kids to have fun. But you want them home in one piece. Proms need ground rules.

Who is driving to the prom? Who is picking up from prom? When do they come home?

What is the distance between the prom venue and the after prom event and to the various domiciles of kids? How long are these after prom events that schools and parents sponsor? I know of one that runs from 11 pm to 5 am. So, if a kid has a Cinderella license in PA and drives to prom, how are they supposed to drive legally to one of these post prom events? If parents are doing the chauffeuring, when do they get to sleep that night of prom?

When did prom get so complicated?  Or was it always this complicated but when we were teenagers we just did not pay attention to other than who we were going with, who we were sitting with at a table at prom and what dress were we wearing?

Yes, my junior prom way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth….

I do remember the whole dress shopping of it all.   We didn’t show a lot of skin back then, and the heels? Well our mothers made sure we could walk in them if we wanted to wear them. And there was a lot of “no” when it came to dress choices and parental eye rolling that we even suggested wearing a dress that made us look like hoochie koochie mamas.

Today if my friends and I were teenagers and we wore what we were allowed to wear back then, we would have looked like we were sporting Morman “modest ” clothing.

I also remember my mother and her friends rotated dresses between them – so if we were going to more than one prom it was like the mom version of “rent the runway.”  We borrowed someone else’s dress so we had no prompeat dresses from school to school. Who knew it wasn’t a new dress? (we’d never tell!)

Now prom is a big business and well half the guys don’t wear tuxedos anymore.  And what is with this trend that the guy’s tie and/or cummerbund matches the girl’s dress color? Is this like prom Garanimals? Sorry it is a trend I think is dumb.  It’s like yo Barbie, Ken will match you. And a great deal of the girls’ gowns do indeed look like Barbie inspired clothing, which I do not know is a good thing. It just is.

Girls are doing wedding caliber hair and make-up and nails.  How much does prom even cost today?

And then there is the whole promposal thing.  You can’t just ask someone to prom. It has to be this whole production.  Prom bombing a kid’s car to ask them to prom is one way to do it.

I saw this in 2011 and snapped a photo

These promposals have gotten competitive…and expensive.  At Bucks County’s Pennsbury High School they have been banned during school hours.

And wow, these promposals whether you are male or female seem like big pressure to me.  And what happens if someone turns your promposal down? Then what?

But once we get past the where the proms are, where the after parties and events are, and who is wearing what and who is going with whom, it boils down to kids being safe.

State Representative Duane Milne sent around a sober reminder today via e-mail.  I close with that because well, have fun kids but stay safe.  And take pity on your dear “old” parents who now understand why our parents were glad prom season came but once a year for a brief window of time!

 

 

hello pravda?

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
~ Thomas Jefferson

You will note I have not said much politically as in national- elections-politically in a very long time. Except for mentioning that after the most recent US presidential primary I went from being a life long Republican to a registered Independent.

I haven’t mentioned anything because on both sides of the aisle the ranting and raving especially on social media has been upsetting.  We are officially a country of extremism politically at this point and I find that terrifying.

Our President Elect  seems incapable of getting out of his own way. He attained the highest office in the land, literally. So why is it at this point so close to the inauguration that he can’t behave in a more shall we say “Presidential” manner?

 He likes to criticize people like bloggers and the media and celebrities and basically anyone who disagrees with him in any way.   OK so it’s fine to be a cranky person who reacts to everything on Twitter, but this guy is going to be our president officially as in sworn in officially in a matter of days and the only thing he can do is attack Meryl Streep for exercising her right of free speech at the Golden Globes awards ceremony?

It’s not like it’s anything new is it? Award ceremonies are used by celebrities all the time to voice their political opinions and platforms.

  
Meryl Streep is eloquent and thoughtful. And once again our now President Elect has vilified yet another woman. Why does he have issues with women so often? 

Apparently no one else is allowed to say anything he might find upsetting, distressing, personally distasteful. But in that double standard world in which he lives, he can say whatever he wants it’s just everyone else who has to keep their mouths shut.

Newsflash Mr. President elect this isn’t Mother Russia. Pravda need not apply.  You don’t have to agree with everyone’s opinion, but our forefathers fought for our freedom’s including freedom of speech.

I actually wonder in addition to trying to completely dismantle our healthcare system if he will try to well rollback freedom of speech a couple hundred years. I am waiting for laws that will hurt bloggers and reporters and anyone at all who has an opinion that differs from the party line that the incoming administration wants out there.

Washington Post: Meryl Streep called out Donald Trump at the Golden Globes. He responded by calling her ‘over-rated

By Elahe Izadi and Amy B Wang Arts and Entertainment. January  9 at 8:32 am

Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. Okay. Go on with that thing.

You do not have to share Meryl Streep’s politics to know she speaks the truth. And this country was founded by people who fought so we could speak our truths and not live under the thumb of tyranny. They died for this.

As Americans are we going to allow the clock to be turned back to a more oppresive form of our country? you know a country where women were barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen, and didn’t open their mouths?

I could go on but I won’t. I just felt like I had to write about this. Every day I fear more and more that the next four years will be so ugly. We should not be ruled by political extremism and reactionary politics. We should not be ruled.

dear ryan homes….

Dear Ryan Homes,

Please pardon me while I barf all over your saccharine sweet ridiculous glossy postcard you mailed me today. My apologies, truly, part of it is because I am sick and part of it is because, well, I simply can’t stomach anymore developer drivel.

Who are you to judge the living I “deserve”?  I live quite nicely in Chester County.  I have an actual home that isn’t made of plastic and plywood.  

Why on earth would you think I wanted the urban Stepford plasticness of a non-organic fake neighborhood next to a highway?  Especially  because I live in a real neighborhood with real people?

I know, I know you want to sell everyone on the plastic houses that would be so lovely next to the elite blue lagoon of the old  quarry lake.  You know the one that no one has sufficiently fenced around yet?

The East Whiteland supervisors and staff like the director of building and planning are salivating and counting the ratables before they are hatched completely ….I get that. But it doesn’t necessarily mean build it and they will come. Of course they might all come and then it’s going to be like part of Chester County has turned into King of Prussia West. Or Bensalem, pick your  development.

Your “lake views” are as fake as the architecture you are touting here. That isn’t an actual lake it’s a toxic body of water left over from the days of quarries. If you were smart you would have fenced that in properly by now, but I predict it will take something awful happening before you actually do – presuming you guys own that since I don’t know who actually owns it. 

As far as I’m concerned everything being built over at Atwater is just developer blight on the horizon and density that we aren’t going to be able to handle in a few years.  And the schools certainly will bear the brunt of this and municipal and other services as well. And the roads are already groaning. 

But hey like everyone else’s development plans, it’s like all of yours exist in a tiny bubble with a green Elysian field surrounding it…. And in this case also bordering an unnaturally blue, toxic “lake”.

I’m sure by now you’re sorry I am on your mailing list. Trust me the feeling is mutual.

Signed ,

Just me, mocking  bad developments proudly for decades.

dear santa can you help?


Dear Santa,

Hi there! Are you getting your letters from Chester County, PA?  I am sorry to ask  during this time of year, but you see parts of Chester County has an on again, off again mail problem.

You see, part of Chester County PA’s Mail sorts through another city and state. Yes, it’s true, part of Chester County’s mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine, you send your next door neighbor a card and it takes not days , but weeks to arrive. Why? Because the mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine you have an awesome local post office and equally terrific mail carriers. Imagine how awful they feel when they have to knock on your door and hand you damaged mail and damaged packages that sometimes look like the football after Monday Night Football! Why? Because the mail came to Chester County via Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine you are waiting for a registered or priority package and you are tracking it on USPS.com and you watch it travel from pillar to post and then it just stalls for a couple of days…in Wilmington, Delaware. (with no explanation, ever.)

Santa, it is sad but true. When you complain the United States Postal Service doesn’t honor their “we deliver for you” they terrorize your local mail carriers and post office or they blow you off entirely. Heck maybe YOU can get them to respond to emails – because unless you are contacting the Office of The Inspector General, you stand a pretty good chance of being totally blown off.

Last time I went on a tirade against Chester County PA mail partially sorting through Wilmington, Delaware I was told off the record that the reason mail from Chester County sorts through another state entirely was Joe Biden and is this true?  So should I be writing to Joe Biden instead of you Santa Claus?

I have a theory and that is the postal workers in the sorting facility in Wilmington,  Delaware resent having to also sort Chester County, Pennsylvania mail.  And that is why I hypothesize why mail goes missing, has inexplicable delays, and gets damaged. And who can blame them?  Wouldn’t you be upset if some politicians just doubled your workloads because they thought that was the solution to some stupid political agenda? 

December 1, 2016 update: spoke to consumer affairs personnel in Washington, DC in the Postmaster General’s Office after getting blown off by Philadelphia Consumer Affairs and the office of the USPS OIG. Santa would you like to receive a priority package marked fragile that looks like this?

So Santa, if you can talk to USPS about the mail and ask them to do something about the Chester County, Pennsylvania mail partially sorting in Wilmington, Delaware that would be an awesome stocking stuffer this Christmas!

a love note to the chester county planning commission

chesco-plan

Dear ChesCo Planning,

The new website sure is pretty, but what are you doing for us? Are you saving Chester County from overdevelopment? If you are, please let us know how.

I see the planning commission members were interviewed by Kathleen Brady Shea September 14:

 

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the Chester County Board of Commissioners announced the kick-off to Landscapes’ second update, Landscapes3.

During a presentation at the commissioners’ Sunshine meeting, Matthew Hammond of the Chester County Planning Commission pointed out that eight percent of the county’s open space enjoyed permanent protection prior to Landscapes; now the number is nearly 27 percent.

Hammond noted that an influx of 150,000 residents is predicted by 2045, reinforcing the need to have a plan that continues the focus on managing that growth through open space preservation, urban center revitalization, and municipal planning assistance.

“We’re very excited to be moving forward on this,” said Brian O’Leary, executive director of the Chester County Planning Commission.

Landscapes3 will involve a two-year effort that begins with a series of stakeholder meetings this fall, to determine the issues and challenges facing Chester County over the next 10 years.

“Twenty years ago, Chester County made a choice to redirect growth, to protect open space and to revitalize our towns and urban communities,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chairman Terence Farrell. “Landscapes and Landscapes2 have served us very well in doing that, but it is time to renew our vision and ensure that Chester County remains a highly attractive place to live, work and visit.”

 

Ok that’s all nice and fluffy, but how are you preserving open space REALLY?  What land are you saving? Look at all the parts of Chester County at risk, what are you doing? You guys talk a good game, but to be honest I lost faith in you when you hired Brian O’Leary whom I remembered none too fondly from Lower Merion Township where developers say “jump!” and Lower Merion says “how high?”

Montco official is new Chesco planner

POSTED: 09/16/15, 3:46 PM EDT|UPDATED: ON 09/16/2015

A Montgomery County official will be the new head of the Chester County Planning Commission, and will be counted on to oversee the future update of the county’s award-winning land and community planning document, Landscapes2, in the coming four years.

The county commissioners announced the appointment of Brian O’Leary as executive director at their meeting Tuesday. O’Leary currently serves as section chief on the Montgomery County Planning Commission, where he has worked for nearly 30 years.

O’Leary replaces former county Planning Commission Executive Director Ronald Bailey, who retired in June. Bailey had served as head of the commission since 2006. O’Leary will formally begin his work in the county on Oct. 5.

 

Lower Merion Township will ultimately be ruined by all the development still coming at it, and Montgomery County is a giant development mess.

As the county planning commission you are supposed to seek balance, where is that balance exactly?  How are the rights of existing residents being preserved? How is the agricultural and equine history, tradition, and culture being honored? When arable farmland and open space is gone, it’s gone.

How is allowing East Whiteland develop to the point of being like King of Prussia meets Bensalem positive? Or watching acre after acre of farmland in places like West Vincent and Upper Uwchlan a positive?

How many  developments do we need ? How come residents do not truly get a say in this? I mean you say you want our input, so we give it to you, and up pops another development or strip mall. It is a bit frustrating.

What are you doing to save Crebilly Farm???? Bryn Coed??? Any open space and farmland anywhere throughout the county? Do you care about ANY of the historic structures threatened throughout the county at all?

Is below the future of Crebilly? Liseter II (Liseter WAS Foxcatcher Farm the DuPont Estate in Newtown Township, Delaware County) :

img_4081

dsc_0042

Or maybe it should look like this:

dsc_0076

How is any of the current development “smart” growth?  Your Brian O’Leary is even on the board of the Smart Growth Alliance, and allow me to quote them on him:

Through his work in local planning, Brian has seen the importance of smart growth. With smart growth, new development is focused towards existing communities, helping these places revitalize, improve their infrastructure, and create vibrant and healthy neighborhoods. Without smart growth, farmland is lost, people’s transportation choices are limited, and the economy suffers.

oleary-1So are we supposed to all hop into our smart cars now and jump on board the New Urbanism Fairy Tale Express? Brian O’Leary is a resident of Penn Wynne or Wynnewood in Lower Merion Township so seriously, what does he know from open space? And that is whose hands our future is in? Have any of you dealt with the congestion that is the Main Line recently? Or seen community after community torn asunder by development and the constant whirl of political shell games? Well I did, and I want better for the gorgeous county I now call home.

Pending sale of Crebilly Farm sparks outcry

There are several counties in America, each with more than 10,000 homes, that have vacancy rates above 55%. The rate is above 60% in several.

Most people who follow unemployment and the housing crisis would expect high vacancy rates in hard-hit states including Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. They were among the fastest growing areas from 2000 to 2010. Disaster struck once economic growth ended……..Data from states and large metropolitan areas do not tell the story of how much the real estate disaster has turned certain areas in the country into ghost towns.

……These are the American Ghost Towns Of The 21st Century. Each has a population of more than 10,000 along with vacancy rates of more than 55%, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.