Court Considers if PA Towns Can Regulate ME2 Pipeline Location

In May six anti-pipeline residents living near where the Mariner East 2 pipeline will pass asked the Middletown (Delaware County, PA) town council to reject the path of the pipeline near their property because it would, supposedly, pass closer than town code allows. The town council told the residents they’re out of luck–the town will not pursue any action to block Mariner East 2. Period. The residents, amped-up, agitated and funded by Big Green groups filed a lawsuit against the pipeline, to force it to conform with Middletown’s ordinance (see 6 Middletown Antis Sue Sunoco LP to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipe). The lawsuit was filed in the the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. The judge dismissed the case in June, so the antis, again funded by Big Green groups, appealed the case to the next higher court, Commonwealth Court. On Wednesday, an “en banc” panel of Commonwealth Court heard arguments in the case (“en banc” meaning all of the judges heard the case, indicating its high importance). One report of the session indicates the judges expressed skepticism that Sunoco Logstics Partners, the builder, does not have to follow local town ordinances because the pipeline is overseen by the the state and state regulations preempt local ordinances. Needless to say if the case goes against ME2/Sunoco, it will make it harder (but not impossible) to finish work on time…
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Anarchists Brag About Vandalizing Mariner East 2 Constr Equipment

A group of lawless anarchists–people calling themselves “anti-capitalists” from the Philadelphia area, have admitted in a blog post that they engaged in illegal, criminal (we’d call it eco-terrorist) activities against construction equipment being used in Media (Delaware County), PA for the Mariner East 2 Pipeline project. The criminals, from the anti-American group Philly Anti-Capitalist, said they filled the fuel tanks of a flatbed truck and several excavators with sand and sugar–meant to ruin the engines. They even outline how to inflict maximum damage to the engines by removing the fuel filters. These idiots justify their criminal actions by saying, “Human-caused ecological collapse and mass extinction are upon us.” In other words, they’re loony tunes. Crazy. Driven to commit criminal acts because they’ve been brainwashed into believing mankind is poisoning Mom Earth by extracting and using fossil fuels. And brainwashed against liberty and freedom as personified in the United States. They are serious (and dangerous) nutjobs. We sincerely hope the FBI, Homeland Security and other police organizations hunt them down and jail them for destroying private property…
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Rich Homeowners in Philly Suburb Claim ME2 Work Stirring up Arsenic

Rich, snobbish homeowners in an “upscale” Philadelphia suburb development are asking an appeals court to stop Sunoco Logistics from building the Mariner East 2 pipeline through the edge of their high-priced development because, they claim, the digging is disturbing the dirt (which is what digging does) and disturbing the dirt is causing lead and arsenic to become dislodged. The lead and arsenic are supposedly in the dirt as a result of pesticides used when the land was an apple orchard. The claim is flat out BS–Barbara Streisand. The Andover Homeowners Association in Thornbury Township (Delaware County) is the same group that a few weeks ago acted like five year-olds by intentionally stepping over a painted line put there to protect them from a ME2 construction zone (see Philly Antis Step Over the Line (Literally) at ME2 Pipeline Site). Spoiled rotten children grow up to be spoiled rotten adults. Here’s the latest tactic to stop a pipeline from the gentry class–just because they don’t like how digging a pipeline makes their development look to the neighbors…
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Philly Antis Step Over the Line (Literally) at ME2 Pipeline Site

Acting like 5-year olds who have been told not to do something, but defiantly do it anyway, several homeowners in a housing development in Delaware County who were specifically instructed not to interfere with clearing work for the Mariner East 2 Pipeline in a Philadelphia suburb. The homeowners intentionally crossed a clearly-marked line into the construction zone, putting themselves at risk. The homeowners, who object to the pipeline, wanted to “push the buttons” of the workers at the construction site. The workers promptly called the cops and of course, work could not commence while the police interviewed everyone to see what’s what. In the end, no arrests were made. The homeowners were on jointly-owned housing development property. Their lawyer told them they could enter the work area as long as they didn’t stop the work being done. One of the babies homeowners admitted she wanted to chain herself to a tree, but she restrained herself. So big of her…
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ME2 Drilling Leaks 575 Gal of Bentonite Mud into Delco Creek

Sand bags placed to contain a leak of bentonite clay into Chester Creek. Credit: Middletown Coalition for Community Safety

When pipeline companies lay a pipeline–they dig a trench. But what happens when you come to a road, or a river, or a creek or another structure where you can’t just dig a trench? For those places, you drill horizontally underground–kind of like what shale drillers do. When drilling horizontally underground, the drill bit gets hot and needs to be cooled, so drilling “mud” is piped in to cool the bit as it chews away. Drilling mud for pipelines is, essentially, bentonite–a nontoxic clay. Bentonite is used to make shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and kitty litter. You’ve probably already used a product today that contains bentonite. Sometimes when drilling, the bentonite mud leaks out–traveling along cracks in the rock. It’s called an “inadvertent return” in the business. We call it a leak. Fortunately, bentonite can leak all day long and it doesn’t pollute anything. However, if enough of it leaks into a river, stream, or wetland (i.e. swamp), it can smother aquatic life. Poor little critters can’t breathe. And that’s not good. Such leaks are what have slowed down progress on building the Rover Pipeline in Ohio–where one such incident leaked 2 million gallons of drilling mud (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). A leak of 575 gallons of drilling mud into a creek is hardly worth mentioning, but it recently happened when Sunoco Logistics was drilling horizontally under the Chester Creek in Delaware County (near Philadelphia) for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. According to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, not a single fish was killed in the leak…Continue reading

6 Middletown Antis Sue Sunoco LP to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipe

As we reported last week, six anti-pipeline residents living near where the Mariner East 2 pipeline will pass asked the Middletown (Delaware County, PA) town council to reject the path of the pipeline near their property because it would, supposedly, pass closer than town code allows. At a meeting earlier in the week, town council told the residents they’re out of luck–the town will not pursue any action to block Mariner East 2. Period. The residents, amped up and agitated by Big Green groups, was rumored to be considering a lawsuit against the pipeline to force it to conform with Middletown’s ordinance. It’s no longer a rumor. The amped up antis, spurred on and using lawyers from said Big Green groups, filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Common Pleas on Friday…Continue reading

Antis Mad Middletown Won’t Block Mariner East 2 Pipe Near Homes

Looks like Middletown Township, in Delaware County, PA (Philadelphia suburb), has finally faced reality that the Mariner East 2 Pipeline is coming through town. To be fair, town council came to that conclusion last September when they voted to grant easements to Sunoco Logistics Partners to build Mariner East 2 across four parcels of public land (see SEPA Town Votes to Allow Mariner East 2 Across Town Land). However, Middletown has still officially opposed the pipeline. In January Middletown colluded with other towns to pass a resolution opposing it–a totally empty gesture meant to placate a few disgruntled residents (see Towns Near Philly Collude with CAC to Block Mariner East 2 Pipe?). Those disgruntled residents are still not placated. Six residents living near where the pipeline will pass asked town council to reject the path of the pipeline near their property because it would, supposedly, pass closer than town code allows. At a meeting earlier this week, town council told the residents they’re out of luck–the town will not pursue any action to block Mariner East 2. Period. The residents, amped up and agitated by Big Green groups, is considering a lawsuit against the pipeline to force it to conform with Middletown’s ordinance…Continue reading

Delco School “Extraordinarily Satisfied” with ME2 Pipeline Safety

School officials at a school district in Delaware County, PA (Philadelphia suburb) were, understandably, concerned about plans that would bring the Mariner East 2 pipeline “near” the school. What happens if, in the extremely unlikely event, the pipeline leaks? Or explodes? What kind of measure are in place to protect the kiddies? Sunoco Logistics personnel (builder of the ME2 project) along with emergency first responders met with Middletown school officials on March 31 in a private meeting–because emergency plans are confidential. Coming out of that meeting, the school district superintendent said he was “extraordinarily satisfied” with the plans and that they kids are safe with ME2 being located nearby. You don’t hear that often, because the media doesn’t typically report it…
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Delco Antis Threaten Lawsuits to Stop ME2 Pipeline

Even though a companion story today reveals that a local school district in Middletown Township, PA (near Philadelphia) is completely satisfied that the Mariner East 2 pipeline is safe (see Delco School “Extraordinarily Satisfied” with ME2 Pipeline Safety), there are still a few hardened anti-fossil fuelers in Middletown who refuse to consider reason. They are keeping up a losing battle against ME2. Their latest approach is to pressure (i.e. bully) town officials to unilaterally reject the pipeline through their jurisdiction based on town zoning codes about setbacks–the distance from the pipeline to surrounding structures. Like two other towns with similar codes (Thornbury and West Goshen), the antis in Middletown are threatening to (surpise!) sue if the town doesn’t do what they (the antis) selfishly demand by rejecting the pipeline…
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Report by Philly Antis Proves Mariner East 2 Pipeline is Safe

A group of anti-fossil fuel nutters from the Philadelphia suburb of Middletown, PA (Delaware County) spent good money to buy themselves a report from an “independent” consultant that they say proves the Mariner East 2 Pipeline is too dangerous to build through their township. We don’t know how much the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety blew on the study, but we do know that Middletown Township is blowing $45,000 of taxpayer’s hard-earned money for a similar study (see Middletown PA Decides to Blow $45K (not $100K) on Mariner 2 Study). The Middletown Coalition was antsy, they didn’t want to wait for the town study to be completed, and they couldn’t risk a truly independent study finding the pipeline will be safe. So the Coalition moved ahead, no doubt using money from Big Green organizations to produce a report titled “Hazard Calculations for the Mariner East II Pipeline” (full copy below). The Coalition asked Quest Consultants, an Oklahoma-based firm, to evaluate what would happen IF a bunch of unlikely events were to happen. The report concludes: “IF the pipe were to rupture in Middletown Township, and IF the pipeline were operating at 1,500 psi while transporting ethane, and IF the release were oriented near to horizontal in the direction of the wind, and IF there are few obstructions to vapor cloud dispersion, and IF the weather conditions were 5 mph winds and stable atmosphere, the flammable vapor cloud could extend up to 1,800 feet from the pipeline.” The huge, gaping omission, the question the report does not address, is this: How likely is it that any or all of those things would actually happen? Our answer: near zero percent. In other words, the report just released by the Middletown Coalition proves that ME2 is safe!…
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Latest Bizarre PR Attack on Mariner East 2 Pipeline

Anti-drilling zealots are sometimes maddening, sometimes funny, and often just plain bizarre. As they are with their latest publicity attack (aided and abetted by PBS reporters) by claiming a couple of townships along the pipeline’s proposed route have ordinances in place that would potentially stop the pipeline in those locations “if only” those lazy, corrupt townships would just enforce the ordinances. That’s the upshot of the argument. One of the towns, Thornbury (Delaware County, a Philly suburb) has a requirement that the subdivision where the pipeline will run must maintain at least 40% of the land in the subdivision as “open space.” The antis claim the pipeline will use enough acreage to reduce the “open space” to below 40%. Ah, Mr. & Ms. Anti, did you know that the pipeline will run underground? And that pipelines lead to MORE permanent open spaces? Nice green fairways that are well-maintained? Lawyers from the usual radical suspects are getting ready to file lawsuits for “force” the townships to pay money defending against this latest inanity…
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Mariner East 2 Pipeline Constructions Begins Across PA

Pop the cork on the champagne bottle! Sunoco Logistics Partners has begun construction of the Mariner East 2–a $2.5 billion, 306-mile natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that will run from eastern Ohio through the state of Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia. Last week the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) gave its final approval for the project (see Finally! PA DEP Issues Final Permits for Mariner East 2 Pipeline). It didn’t take long for a coordinated attack from the the enviro left–THE Delaware Riverkeeper, the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council and the Mountain Watershed Association (see Maya & Friends Sue (Once Again) to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipe). However, their efforts have (so far) failed, as we observed yesterday (see Last Minute Attacks Fail to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipeline Progress). Although you can’t discount a liberal judge throwing up roadblocks, the very good news is that construction has begun across PA–in Delaware County in the east, Huntingdon County in central PA, and Washington County in the west…
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Middletown PA Decides to Blow $45K (not $100K) on Mariner 2 Study

Rabidly anti-drilling organizations like the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council (CAC) have been using the deep pockets of their contributors to stir up dissent against Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 NGL pipeline, particularly in towns in the Philly orbit (see Towns Near Philly Collude with CAC to Block Mariner East 2 Pipe?). CAC has towns like Middletown (Delaware County) so agitated, Middletown’s town council foolishly voted to allocate $100,000 out of $1.8 million the town received for leasing rights-of-way for the pipeline to assess risks and create an emergency response plan for the pipeline (see Mariner East 2 Tells PA Town: You’re Flushing $100K Down Toilet). Sunoco politely told Middletown they’re flushing 100 grand down the toilet. Federal guidelines already provide most if not all of the information (and planning) required to protect the good citizens of Middletown. So instead of blowing $100K, the town council voted this week to blow $44,500 instead…
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Mariner East 2 Tells PA Town: You’re Flushing $100K Down Toilet

Rabidly anti-drilling organizations like the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council (CAC) have been using the deep pockets of their contributors to stir up dissent against Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 NGL pipeline, particularly in towns in the Philly orbit (see Towns Near Philly Collude with CAC to Block Mariner East 2 Pipe?). CAC has towns like Middletown (Delaware County) so agitated, Middletown’s town council foolishly voted to allocate $100,000 out of $1.8 million the town received for leasing rights-of-way for the pipeline to assess risks and create an emergency response plan for the pipeline. Sunoco is politely telling Middletown–you’re flushing 100 grand down the toilet. Federal guidelines already provide most if not all of the information (and planning) required to protect the good citizens of Middletown. So why is the town council throwing good money away?…
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PA Town’s Angst Over Mariner East 2 Pipeline Near School, Park

logo-transThere is no doubt Sunoco Logistics Partners has been pushing a boulder up a hill when it comes to the Mariner East 2 pipeline project–a $2.5 billion, 350-mile natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that will run from eastern Ohio through the state of Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia, carting ethane, butane and propane to the facility from both the Utica and Marcellus region. For over a year the project was mired in legal challenges of whether or not it can claim public utility status, with a right to use eminent domain. In July, PA’s Commonwealth Court ruled it is a public utility with a right to use eminent domain (see Sunoco LP Wins Major Court Decision for Mariner East 2 Pipeline). But the fight continues–town by town. Nowhere is that more evident than Middletown Township in Delaware County, PA. Monday night the town council voted, unanimously, to put an ordinance on the docket for council members to vote on at the Sept. 26 meeting, an ordinance that if passed, will allow Sunoco LP to move forward with building the pipeline on public land in the town–in one case across a park, and in another close to an elementary school…
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Business & Labor Unions Join Forces to Promote Pipelines in PA

You don’t normally think of local Chambers of Commerce (business owners) and labor unions (rank and file workers) as breaking bread together. And they NEVER commingle their membership roles in order to lobby local, state and federal authorities on policy and regulation. Until now, that is. In Pennsylvania, two Chambers of Commerce on opposite sides of the state, the Delaware County Chamber and the Washington County Chamber, along with two labor unions, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) with 25,000 members and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 66 with 7,000 members, have all joined forces. And what has the power to cause management and labor to join forces? The Marcellus Shale. The four organizations together have formed the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, a “broad-based coalition in support of timely approval for critical energy infrastructure in the Commonwealth.” The main focus of the Alliance is to promote the benefits and building of pipelines…
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