On Sunday shortly before dinner time my cell phone exploded with text messages and calls. News of another sinkhole opening on Lisa Drive in West Whiteland.
Now a sinkhole opening up after heavy rains in our part of the county is not so unusual is it? Is it not true we are rife with sinkholes because of the geological formations under the ground? All that stuff about schist, karst, and what some describe as a veritable limestone fault line?
Or check out this map from the geology section of the Chester County website:
So why does it always seem like the pipeline companies don’t care about the actual geology of our area where they are shoving their pipes?
In addition to the geological life of it all underground (which is why there were so many mine and quarries, etc right?) we are an area with lots of old farm pits and whatever a lot of developers have buried at old construction sites of years past? Today most construction debris gets hauled away properly but in times past? Was a lot of debris removed or buried?
Anyway my point is in my opinion all these things add up to giving a lot of people the ability to have sinkholes on their property. My other point is neighbors and residents seem to be more aware and fearful of sinkholes, yet these pipeline companies seem to just move blithely forward don’t they?
So we have another sinkhole and I’m told it’s a property that Sunoco bought on Lisa Drive. The pipeline that was exposed was the old pipeline Mariner One. What makes all the difference in the world now in my opinion is how Sunoco proceeds and thus far is it anything that business as usual? Or the continuing saga of Chester county residents versus Sunoco?
Why do I say that? Hired muscle, thugs, security take your pick of describing people who reportedly called themselves constables. Does that mean they want people to think they are law-enforcement?
CHESTER CO., Pa. – Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that after investigating a new sinkhole that opened up last weekend in Chester County, his office discovered that Sunoco hired constables from outside of Chester County to act as a private security force around the pipelines…According to a release from Hogan’s office, when the sinkhole appeared, citizens reported it and a plain clothes Chester County Detective approached the scene. When he arrived, an armed man flashed a badge and identified himself as a constable from Northumberland County.
When asked by the detective, the man admitted he had been hired as security by Sunoco, according to the release.
Is it just me or is that like welcome to Crazy Town?
I have had friends tell me of being in their own back yards and having the pipeline workers photograph and video them going about their everyday life. So they are allowed to do that yet if residents do the same they are criticized?
I have to ask if municipalities getting ready for other pipelines like Adelphia Gateway to come in are paying attention? Do they think realistically it’s going to be any different than what the residents dealing with Sunoco/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer Partners experience every day?
Are we as residents of a county that played a huge part in the birthplace of our American freedoms supposed to just live in a factory town paid police state? Every time I hear one of the stories about the pipelines it reminds me of the tales of factory towns and factories and mining towns and mines where literally some company owned everything: where you worked, where your laid your head to rest each night, where you went to do your shopping and so on.
And when it comes to these pipelines what are we getting out of the deal? These are transport lines correct? So they are taking stuff taken out of the soil in other parts of the state and shipping them out of the area and overseas, correct? And for this privilege of living with this in our area what do we get? Oh yeah, things like experiencing eminent domain, declining property values, valid safety concerns, polluted drinking Wells, sinkholes, being harassed, and more?
Does Governor Tom Wolf give a damn? Does Attorney General Josh Shapiro give a damn? Do most local mucicipal reprsentatives in each township and counties give a damn?
Before I lived in Chester County, and even when I first moved to Chester County I thought people were being overly dramatic with regard to the pipelines. Because that’s what the PR spin doctors wanted me to think.
As I started to look beyond the spin and began to call some of the affected residents friends, and realized I already knew some of the affected residents, my perspective began to right itself towards the truth.
First I realized that if life had been different, we (as in my family) might be living in Marydell in West Chester with a pipeline now in the back yard. Then when I realized where we currently live is 1030 feet and 1060 feet from exisitng pipelines and where Adelphia Gateway wants to repurpose an old line like Sunoco-lite I really knew this was actually scary stuff.
And that knowledge has made realize we can’t really trust these pipeline companies can we? And that lack of trust extends to elected officials who do nothing to support the residents who elected them, doesn’t it?
As residents we are heavily scrutinized, perhaps even unfairly scrutinized because we are tired of the pipeline status quo. Is it just me or does it seem we as residents are held to a more stringent set of rules or a higher standard for wishing to protect where we call home and are raising our families?
That is why I am glad Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan is taking a hard look at what is going on. Maybe more officials will follow suit. One can only hope.
In the meantime, like thousands of others I live every day with grave concerns as to what the pipeline companies are doing. After all, we aren’t revolutionaries we just live here.
#DefendWhatYouLove (responsibly, please)
Here is more media coverage: