So I started looking at the interactive pipeline map again along with the pipeline website for Chester County set up by the Chester County Planning Commission. And it prompted an email to pipeline companies and the Chester County Planning Commission to clarify how we would possibly be affected where we live. ( I will note we have neighbors not so far away who have like three pipelines running through their property.)
“When I look at our mapping, which uses the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) that the Federal Government maintains, in conjunction with the pipeline operators, the western edge of your house is roughly 1,030 feet from the closest line, which is Interstate Energy, which is planned to be converted to natural gas.”
~ Carrie from Chester County Planning Commission
Yikes. (and that is the most polite phrase fit to print.)
And for what isn’t planned, possibly planned, maybe planned, who knows what plan exists right through my backyard and/or woods, well I would be close enough to be in a blast zone. Only it is apparently not politically correct to use that phrase, because when I did, I was told:
Regarding your concern about being in a “blast zone,” our office does not define or utilize the phrase “blast zone.” We do use the term Consultation Zone, which is a term used by the federal government and operators to distinguish an area of 1000 feet (in Chester County) on either side of an existing transmission pipeline where coordination between local officials, landowners, and operators are encouraged to consult with each other before land developments are planned for these areas. The US Department of Transportation (which houses the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Office of Pipeline Safety) sponsored a planning effort known as “Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance” (2010,) which identified the phrase Consultation Zone. They define it as an area extending from each side of a transmission pipeline to describe when a property developer/owner, who is planning a new development in the vicinity of an existing transmission pipeline, should initiate a dialogue with the operator. (see https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/…/pipa-report-final-20101117.p…) These zones are a recommended practice and not something that is required.
As another person pointed out to me:
…the Blast Zone is something different. PHMSA calls it the “Buffer Zone” but sorry, we and our loved ones are not buffers.
If Adelphia [and others] end up being like Mariner East, at a 1000 ft you will be within the Blast Zone.
Whether Buffer Zone, Consultation Zone, or Blast Zone….they are all scary bad zones to me, o.k.?
Well now, apparently I will have skin in the game? That now I can join all of the other Chester County and Delaware County residents worrying about pipelines?
Fabulous. Worry is such a good look on people, right? (Dripping sarcasm, can you feel it?)
What started me like Alice down the proverbial pipeline rabbit hole this week is something I saw posted on Charlestown’s website:
You see, in neighboring East Whiteland Township where I live, the township doesn’t have much out there yet on the pipelines. All I found (easily – I say easily because perhaps information is hidden deep down in website ) was the Adelphia Gateway letter from January, which I had already seen. Here it is:
A lot of townships now have stand alone pages with pipeline information. Like East Goshen, Uwchlan, and Upper Uwchlan, for example. (CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE) All townships with any pipelines should have these informational pages in my opinion.
I will note that when I sent my email to Chester County Planning about pipelines in my particular neighborhood, while the planning commission was kind and replied to me, only ONE pipeline company gave me the courtesy of a reply acknowledging my outreach. Ryan Lumbridge from Enbridge. He offered up his phone number if I need to speak with him. I will call him but I am most concerned with Adelphia Gateway and Interstate Energy. And apparently since now a couple of days has passed without even a simple acknowledgement of contact, Adelphia Gateway and Interstate Energy don’t seem to think they need to communicate with residents.
The pipeline companies need to communicate. To Interstate especially I say if you plan to maybe possibly or maybe definitely plan to do something 1,030 from the edge of our property, you can show a little interest. I am on a well, I have gardens, I have beautiful woods and more. I want to know exactly what Interstate is planning to do if they do it and when. I am sure I am but one of many emails they get, and I am trying to be calm and rational, except I have seen what is going on in neighboring municipalities with Sunoco, and well, I don’t want my neighborhood to have these problems.
I reiterate my objections to these pipelines which rape and pillage and destroy so they can ship their good overseas so other companies in Europe and elsewhere can do things like make more plastic. Our homes are our castles, our American dreams and it is heinous that American companies can just take our land (without even just compensation in my opinion) and trash it for their profit. And put us in danger.
We are also densely populated enough that what if with other pipeline companies wishing to be Sunoco-Mariner East II-Lite something blows up? Collapses? Ruins wells, breaks water mains? Causes sinkholes? Brings down property values? We as residents are NOT protected. Officials can’t say it won’t happen because all the media coverage and whatnot shows it HAS happened. Are we just to repeat the same darn patterns over and over from pipeline company to pipeline company and municipality to municipality???
I am sure pipeline companies want residents to just go quietly into the night. We can’t. Our lives and our homes and our properties are at stake. You can’t bully, harass, or threaten us into submission. We live here and like it or not, we have rights. We shouldn’t have to be pipeline guinea pigs should we?
And right or wrong, I feel like these pipeline companies, our sitting Governor Tom Wolf, and even municipalities at times want us as residents to know as little as possible.
Here is a round-up of some recent articles I found:
In Pennsylvania we have bucolic rural beauty and we also have the savage pipelines raping the land.
We are a Commonwealth of Contrasts; the juxtaposition between heaven and hell.
Remember images like this when you go to vote.
See below. Sharing what I saw on Facebook. A peaceful rally. #DefendWhatYouLove.
Oh poor Jeff Shields former Inquirer reporter and now Sunoco Logistics’ Communications Manager (a/k/a their talking head.) He was an amazing reporter and now he has been Suessed. No Jeff, I had nothing to do with any of this, just sharing. Dude, hope the jingle in your pocket is worth it, you are on the wrong side of this one.
I would take note Adelphia Gateway and other companies pondering pipelines. We the people are awake. And the people are over pipelines and companies raping the land and destroying where we call home.
From Uwchlan Safety Coalition via Facebook:
The #emergency order from the PUC has been granted! #MarinerEast 1 will be shut down!!!!!
Public hearing will be March 15th!
#Uwchlan must be heard here! Please, while many of you have already #emailed your supervisors today, please, do it again!
Ask for them to file their own complaint with PUC!
Consider this! Uwchlan Township is next door to the area where #Sunoco did not do their homework on the geology and put public safety and property at risk! Our water supply and our unique land formations including a fault line exists along the pipeline route in Uwchlan! Let’s make sure Sunoco has done their job correctly here!
Email our township supervisors asking for the complaint to be filed at PUC!
#noME2 #stopETP #shutitdown
What is in the media (there is more as this story is spreading like wildfire, I just posted a couple of sources):
Delco Times Heron’s Nest by Phil Heron Thursday March 8:
Karst….I’m pretty sure Sunoco Pipeline is already tired of hearing it.
Karst refers to a geologic formation where the ground is situated on old limestone formations that have been weakened by moisture over decades.
It turns out it’s a pretty common occurrence in this area – particularly across a swath of Chester County.
Exactly in many of the same spots where Sunoco Pipeline is now running gases through its Mariner East 1 pipeline and is constructing Mariner East 2….These weakened karst areas are susceptible to sinkholes, fissures and other ground settling, in particular when the ground is disturbed, such as when drilling trenches for a new pipeline.
and… Philadelphia Inquirer…
Updated: MARCH 7, 2018 — 5:36 PM EST
by Andrew Maykuth, Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Wednesday ordered the immediate shutdown of Sunoco Pipeline’s Mariner East 1 system after sinkholes exposed the bare pipeline in Chester County, which PUC investigators said “could have catastrophic results” if not repaired.
Gladys M. Brown, the PUC’s chair, granted an emergency order to halt operations on the 8-inch-diameter pipeline, which went into service in 1931 originally to carry motor fuel. It now carries up to 70,000 barrels a day of high-pressure volatile natural gas liquids such as propane from the Marcellus Shale gas region to a Sunoco terminal in Marcus Hook
How is it life had to reach a crisis point like this?
Apparently where the pipeline is causing sinkholes over in West Whiteland is also close to train tracks? Active train tracks? As in AMTRAK tracks? I am guessing the railroad will not be too happy about this when they check it out or we can hope, right?
There is so much that could go wrong and so much that already has it gone wrong, right?
And all they are doing is back filling sinkholes with concrete, correct? Considering we are talking Karst formations (and geology is not my forte and I have heard other terminology used as well with Chester County and the sinkholes which can occur) are they just going to turn Chester County into one giant concrete pad and that is their solution?
Is Sunoco/Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer Partners L.P. that greedy that they would put our homes, health,safety, and welfare at risk like this? (Yes, I realize that is a somewhat redundant question, but it has to be asked yet again, doesn’t it?)
Supervisors, commissioners, and borough officials throughout Chester County really should be paying attention to this. And a lot of them aren’t. And if you live in a Township affected by pipelines you should be pressuring your elected officials to contact the PUC immediately!
And this is also why people shouldn’t just roll over with regard to the Adelphia Gateway pipeline poised to become Mariner East- Lite.
Go ahead, plug your address into that interactive pipeline map Chester County Planning Commission has on their pipeline information page. You will see what I saw that there are a lot of pipelines crisscrossing Chester County and neighboring counties. I was told (and I have no reason to disbelieve the person who told me) that a lot of these pipeline companies are waiting to see what happens with Sunoco, so doesn’t that say to you if we don’t stop this now as an extended dual county and extended county community, we will just keep fighting the same thing over and over again?
Our homes are our castles. They want to take part of our land via eminent domain as fake utility companies and we’re supposed to be OK with that and all the havoc pipelines are causing?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not OK with it. I’m not OK living in a blast zone, that’s just as bad as having the pipeline go down my street as far as I’m concerned.
Perhaps the most galling thing of all is still the fact that we don’t benefit for what they are raping our land for and destroying our property values for, are we?
What is being plundered from the very ground below us, doesn’t benefit us. It gets shipped overseas, doesn’t it?
Please note the photos used in this post are courtesy of Eric Friedman/Middletown Coalition for Community Safety. If I have not attributed properly– community groups, please let me know.
#DefendWhatYouLove – there is no other option. We live here. It’s where we call home. We cannot as a collective extended community just silently fall victim to these corporations.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.