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By sandbagger2
Lawmaker asks Pa. attorney general to investigate pro-pipeline emails
AUGUST 21, 2017 | 6:35 PM

The path to be taken by the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Huntingdon County. A state lawmaker says pipeline supporters may have used hacked email addresses in an attempt to build public support for the pipeline.

The path to be taken by the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Huntingdon County. A state lawmaker says pipeline supporters may have used hacked email addresses in an attempt to show public support for the pipeline.
Hundreds of emails in support of the Mariner East 2 pipeline have been sent to the office of a state lawmaker in the names of individual residents, some of whom deny sending them.

State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, a Delaware County Democrat who has been an outspoken critic of the Sunoco Pipeline project, said Monday she has in the last three and a half weeks received about 400 copies of the same email which urges her to support the pipeline and to avoid any delays in its current construction.

By Monday afternoon, seven of the purported senders of the emails had told Krueger-Braneky’s staff that they have no knowledge of the messages that were sent in their names, and that they suspect their addresses were hacked.

In attempting to reply to the emails starting last Friday, Krueger-Braneky’s staff first found that 20 bounced back because the addresses were bad, and then found some of the recipients said they had never sent the emails in the first place.

“More alarming, we heard from seven constituents right away who told us that they never sent the original email. Many of the people who wrote back to us do not support the pipeline and are upset that their email address was used,” she said.

She said some of the emails were received in the middle of the night, and at precise 10-minute intervals, suggesting that they were sent automatically rather than by individuals. The 400 emails were the most she has received on a single topic since taking office two years ago, she said.

The original email is available under the “take action” section of the web site of the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, a pro-pipeline organization that includes trade groups, chambers of commerce and economic development agencies. One of its members, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields said the company is not a member of the alliance but shares its goals of expanding energy infrastructure.

Krueger-Braneky said she had reported the incidents to the state Attorney General’s office. Joe Grace, a spokesman for Attorney General Josh Shapiro, said: “Representative Krueger-Braneky has been in touch with our office and we’re aware of this matter. We take the protection of people’s online personal information and privacy seriously.”

Sunoco’s Shields said the emails were not sent by Sunoco or by Bravo Group, the company’s Harrisburg-based public relations firm.

Critics of Mariner East 2 have accused Sunoco of using controversial tactics in an effort to build public support for the pipeline. Among them was a campaign to “neutralize opposition” to the project, as stated by Bravo Group, which has now taken the language off its web site.

Asked whether it had anything to do with the emails, Bravo itself issued a statement saying: “Bravo Group seeks to build trust between clients and the public by sharing facts. That is how we approach every project. The tactics you describe are not how we operate.”

Earlier this month, a pipeline opponent named Dallas Goldtooth posted Facebook videos showing a pipeline supporter identifying himself by two different names as he defended both the Mariner East 2 in Pennsylvania and a Louisiana pipeline that is being built by Sunoco’s parent, Energy Transfer Partners.

Sunoco’s Shields said the company had no connection with the pipeline supporter in the videos.

“We are not familiar with the person referenced in the video, and we are not affiliated with him in any way,” Shields said. “We respect everyone’s right to lawfully protest and will continue to do so.”

The emails, with the subject line “Don’t delay important PA infrastructure,” argue for the importance of the cross-state natural gas liquids pipeline to the state’s economy, and say that the project has revitalized the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex where the products will be stored and exported.

After several tumultuous weeks in which drilling fluids have been spilled in dozens of places, private water wells contaminated, and drilling temporarily halted by a judge, the emails also acknowledge that there is “nothing pretty” about large construction projects like Mariner East 2. But they argue that the horizontal directional drilling that has caused the recent incidents is less environmentally damaging than the alternative of open-trench construction.

“This project is a critical infrastructure project and should be allowed to continue within the regulatory guidelines without an unnecessary halt to the progression of construction,” say the emails.

The judge lifted the drilling ban but imposed a series of conditions on Sunoco in a settlement agreement between the company and three environmental groups that sought to extend the halt to drilling. The conditions include reassessing the geology at drilling sites, obtaining new clearances from the Department of Environmental Protection, and giving more notice to nearby home owners before drilling starts.

Following the settlement agreement, Krueger-Braneky replied to the 400 emails, saying she recognized the economic potential of the pipeline but stressed that it needs to be safe.

“Economic development in Delaware County and all of Southeastern PA is very important to me, as is the future sustainability of energy projects,” she said. “We must make sure that any construction project, including pipeline projects, are carried through safely and with consideration for the people and property affected by the project.”

The more than $2.5 billion pipeline will carry propane, butane and ethane from the Marcellus Shale of southwest Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook. Construction began in February, and is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter, later than the third quarter previously anticipated by the company.
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By sandbagger2
Sunoco to dismiss 94 employees at its former Delco HQ
Updated: AUGUST 21, 2017 — 5:31 PM EDT
by Andrew Maykuth, Staff Writer @Maykuth |

Sunoco LP has notified 94 employees at its Newtown Square offices that they will lose their jobs ahead of the company’s planned divestiture of most of its fuel stations to 7-Eleven Inc. by the end of the year.

The formal layoff notice, filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, will shrink Sunoco’s workforce in the region to about 150 employees, said Alyson B. Gomez, a spokeswoman for the company, which moved its headquarters from Newtown Square to Dallas in 2015. The layoff notice is effective Oct. 13.

“Sunoco LP will continue to have a presence in the Philadelphia area while we maintain the functions needed to support the remaining critical elements of our business,” Gomez said in an email Monday. She added that 7-Eleven may also extend job offers to some of the employees to work with the new owners.

Sunoco, which is the retail fuel-marketing arm of the former Philadelphia oil company, announced in April that it would sell about 1,100 convenience stores to 7-Eleven for $3.3 billion to allow it to focus more on its wholesale fuel-supply business. Under a 15-year agreement, the stores will continue to market fuel under Sunoco’s brand.

Energy Transfer Partners LP bought Sunoco in 2012, along with its affiliated company, Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, which also maintains offices in Newtown Square. Energy Transfer absorbed Sunoco Logistics earlier this year. The company’s Sunoco Pipeline subsidiary is building the Mariner East project to deliver Marcellus Shale gas liquids by pipeline to Marcus Hook.
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By sandbagger2
Court rejects pipeline project on climate concerns
BY TIMOTHY CAMA - 08/22/17 11:08 AM EDT

Court rejects pipeline project on climate concerns
An appeals court on Tuesday rejected the federal government’s approval of a natural gas pipeline project in the southeastern U.S., citing concerns about its impact on climate change.

In a 2-1 ruling, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) did not properly analyze the climate impact from burning the natural gas that the project would deliver to power plants.

The ruling is significant because it adds to environmentalists’ arguments that analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act — the law governing all environmental reviews of federal decisions — must consider climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

The case concerns the Southeast Market Pipelines Project, which is meant to bring gas to Florida to fuel existing and planned power plants.
The Sierra Club sued FERC following its 2016 approval of the project. The environmental group brought a series of objections to the project and its environmental review, but the court denied all of the objections except the one focused on greenhouse gas.

The environmental impact statement for the project “should have either given a quantitative estimate of the downstream greenhouse emissions that will result from burning the natural gas that the pipelines will transport or explained more specifically why it could not have done so,” Judge Thomas Griffith, who was nominated to the court by President George W. Bush, wrote in the opinion. He was joined by Judge Judith Ann Wilson Rogers, one of President Bill Clinton's nominees.

“As we have noted, greenhouse-gas emissions are an indirect effect of authorizing this project, which FERC could reasonably foresee, and which the agency has legal authority to mitigate,” Griffith said.

“Quantification would permit the agency to compare the emissions from this project to emissions from other projects, to total emissions from the state or the region, or to regional or national emissions-control goals. Without such comparisons, it is difficult to see how FERC could engage in ‘informed decision making’ with respect to the greenhouse-gas effects of this project, or how ‘informed public comment’ could be possible,” the court wrote, quoting previous cases regarding environmental reviews.

Judge Janice Rogers Brown, another Bush nominee, dissented from the ruling, arguing that FERC does not have the authority to take action to reduce the greenhouse gas impact of pipelines it approves, so it is not obligated to analyze some impacts.

The court’s decision overturns the project’s federal approval and returns the issue to FERC to complete the necessary greenhouse gas analysis.
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By sandbagger2
Pipeline Sets World Record For Environmental Violations
August 21, 2017 admin 0 Comments

Energy Transfer Partners’ controversial $4.3 billion Rover pipeline has more negative inspection reports than any other major interstate natural gas pipeline built in the last two years, according to a new Bloomberg analysis.

The 713-mile pipeline, which will carry fracked gas across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan and Canada, has been stalled from numerous environmental violations, including a 2 million gallon drilling fluid spill into an Ohio wetland in April.

Rover has accrued 104 violations since construction of the $4.2 billion project in started in March.

In May, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected Energy Transfer’s request to resume horizontal directional drilling at two sites for the Rover Pipeline after numerous leaks into Ohio’s wetlands as well as various Clean Air and Clean Water act violations across the state.

Blackstone announced last month it was spending $1.57 billion for a 32 percent stake in the troubled project.

“Rover will be built in compliance with all safety and environmental regulations and in some instances we will exceed those requirements,” Energy Transfer spokeswoman Alexis Daniel told Bloomberg in response to the violation tally.

Energy Transfer owns about 71,000 miles of natural gas, natural gas liquids, refined products and crude oil pipelines across the country and is the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. Citing numbers from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, TheStreet reported in June that the Dallas-based firm spilled hazardous liquids near water crossings more than twice the frequency of any other U.S. pipeline company this decade.

But spills are not the only problem. A June study by Oil Change International highlighted how the Rover pipeline will fuel a massive increase in climate pollution, causing as much greenhouse gas pollution as 42 coal-fired power plants—some 145 million metric tons per year.
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By sandbagger2
Pipeline brings grief to Delco development
By Leslie Krowchenko, Times Correspondent

The view from Jennifer and Stephen Degnan’s deck once included numerous trees separating the house from Duffer’s Tavern.
SUBMITTED PHOTO The view from Jennifer and Stephen Degnan’s deck once included numerous trees separating the house from Duffer’s Tavern.
THORNBURY >> With youngsters riding trikes, kids kicking soccer balls and families walking dogs, Andover seems like a typical subdivision.

The orange barriers, “no trespassing” signs and open space disturbance, however, are eroding into its white picket fence normalcy.

Andover is one of a number of developments, businesses and schools throughout the state, including in Delaware and Chester counties, effected by the Sunoco Pipeline L.P. Mariner East 2 project. The intrusion of the installation has become an unwanted part of everyday life.

“Personal property rights, personal safety issues and personal well-being have all been set aside,” said homeowner Jennifer Degnan. “From the governor’s decision all the way down to local municipalities – to give full reign to Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco and their contractors is truly is a sad day for Pennsylvanians.”

Spanning Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, Mariner East 2 is a 350-mile pipeline system slated to bring natural gas liquids such as propane, ethane and butane to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex. Approximately 11.4 miles would be installed in Delaware County across private and public property in the township, Edgmont, Middletown, Aston and Upper Chichester, ending at the facility.

The private property issue is one of several with which the Andover homeowners’ association has taken exception. The development of 39 single family homes on approximately 42 acres, bounded by routes 352 and 926, includes 40 percent open space as required by municipal code.

The association claims, however, that Sunoco’s easement is part of that open space and the project has reduced the tract below the minimum size. It has questioned whether the work was completed within the limits of the easement or strayed into the communal land.

“The land is our park,” said Eric Friedman. “It has a trail system, provides a buffer and is for the use and enjoyment of Andover residents and their guests.”

The homeowners have also appealed the township zoning, building and electrical permits issued to Sunoco for Mariner East 1 and the highway occupancy permit granted by PennDOT, which has allowed the company to build construction roads accessing the highways. Each issue is under litigation.

The stumps are all that remain of nearly half the buffer between Kathy Ventresca’s deck and the traffic on Middletown Road, Route 352. Nearly 30 of the evergreens planted behind her house when the development was built in 2007 have been removed, taking with them the natural sound barrier and privacy protection.

“This land was an old apple orchard and the builder replaced the trees one-for-one,” she said. “I work from home and the buffer was nice when I was on the phone.”

In addition to the newer trees, Mark and Jennifer Berlinger, who live in a 1798 farmhouse, have seen the loss of an ash, black walnut and 150-year-old ginkgo near their property. The massive plantings not only added to the historic nature of their home, which contains a beehive oven and root cellar, but provided a layer of safety and security.

“Many of us bought our houses because of the open space that is part of our community property and the trails where we could walk our dogs and instead for the next two years we have this,” said Jennifer Berlinger. “If we found jobs elsewhere and decided to move, who would want to come to this construction zone.”

Jennifer and Stephen Degnan’s house abuts the open space on two sides, both of which have been commandeered as part of the pipeline route. The buffer between their residence and Duffer’s Tavern has been removed for the above ground valve station and permanent road approximately 30 feet from their home.

“We can look in Duffer’s window and see what is on TV and their customers can look inside our house and see what we are watching,” said Jennifer Degnan. “The noise is much louder, both from traffic and from Duffer’s customers, and we have headlights from the parking lot coming in our windows.”

The Degnans’ yard has always been a magnet for neighborhood kids and she felt comfortable telling them to “go outside and play” without constant supervision. She now feels the need, however, to watch from the deck.

“I don’t know who these people are,” she added. “Our school district has a built-in security system that requires people coming in the building to show proper identification, but there’s nothing like that here.”

The couple also pointed to the valve site posted with a sign prohibiting actions such as smoking, cell phone use and vehicle idling with 25 feet. Workers in hard hats, however, can at times be seen engaged in the banned activities closer than the designated distance.

The line of demarcation between the properties and the work site, once sprayed with fluorescent orange paint, was replaced recently with similarly-colored fencing and “Keep Out-Authorized Personnel Only” signs. The original lack of a physical barrier resulted in contractors calling the Pennsylvania State Police multiple times when it appeared homeowners were “trespassing” on their own open space, said Friedman.

“We were walking on land that we have walked on as long as we have lived here. No one tried to talk or interfere with the contractors, but if we stepped over the line, they called,” he added. “The association has appreciated the Pennsylvania State Police and the courtesies and professionalism they have displayed.”

Members also noted what they perceived as a lack of support from the township. Like most homeowners, buying a house is typically the largest purchase they will ever make and the 4,000-square-foot houses, with asking prices close to $1 million, represent a significant investment in their lives and the more than $12,000 in annual property taxes provides substantial revenue to the municipality.

“This makes you feel abandoned by your supervisors,” said Mark Berlinger. “They could have played a larger role in stopping Sunoco, but they didn’t.”

While the noise and lights are a short-term inconvenience, the possibility of a leak of pressurized gas represents a looming threat. Construction has also exposed high levels of lead, arsenic and dieldrin, compounds covered by grass and impervious surfaces which have been disturbed.

“We bought in 2015 and anticipate raising our kids and living here for the next 30-40 years,” said Mike Walsh. “This is a failure from the top down.”
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