Editor

The Daily News

Dear Editor:

In the spirit of accuracy, I would like to rebut several points which appeared in the May 9 story, “Decision upheld in pipeline case.”

First, readers are led to believe that ground meat was thrown on the workers. That is patently false. Second, the area was not baited with food to “entice” wild animals, especially not the mountain lion that Sunoco claimed to have on video tape but was never submitted. The video footage of a bear near construction fencing was never shown conclusively to be on our easement, and Wildlife Conservation Officer Richard Macklem’s warning about putting out food to attract bears apparently does not apply to the food containers and food packaging left by Sunoco workers at the worksite. The “bear baiting” was found to be unintentional by magisterial district judge Rufus Brenneman at a subsequent hearing.

If The Daily News had bothered to actually look at the Superior Court’s decision to uphold the trial court order, it would have seen that Judge McCullough, while consenting with Judges Leavitt and Ceisler, explained that from her view, the pipeline project “is an unlawful undertaking and taking of private property.” With a little more effort, The Daily News would also have learned that the district attorneys from Chester, Berks and Delaware counties, as well as the Pennsylvania Attorney General, are initiating investigations into possible criminal activity on the part of Sunoco. Investigations are also being conducted on the permitting process by the DEP and possible pressure to issue those permits by the Wolf administration.

There is no governmental oversight for this project. The Wolf administration, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Public Utility Commission are all playing a game of “pass the buck” with safety, health and welfare of the citizens of Pennsylvania. No one is taking any responsibility for monitoring this travesty. Most of the 100-plus violations which have occurred have been reported by private citizens. Emergency management departments, including Huntingdon, are refusing to release evacuation plans, citing them as “proprietary information.” So, if you are within one half mile to one mile blast zone, Sunoco’s advice is to “run uphill, upwind, at least a quarter mile without using your vehicle or cellphone.” Good luck with children in schools near the right of way, seniors or disabled individuals or visitors to Raystown Lake. Remember that this is the same company whose one-week-old state-of-the-art pipeline exploded in Beaver County.

In an effort to quash the mounting opposition to the Mariner East project, two anti-protest bills are being considered by the General Assembly. Before anyone starts cheering, be advised that in Senate Bill 323, demonstration is defined as “a public assembly, a meeting or gathering, a rally or protest event, a political rally or event, a demonstration, speech-making, marching, the holding of bigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct the primary purpose of which is expressive activity or the communication or expression of views or grievances, which has the effect, intent or propensity to draw a crowd or onlookers.” SB323 would pass all response costs onto anyone convicted during a protest. The second Senate Bill, which previously appeared as Senate Bill 652, has not, to my knowledge, been reintroduced this session. SB652 would bump summary and misdemeanor offenses such as trespassing up to felonies.

This project is dangerously wrong on so many levels. For anyone interested in getting the facts about the Mariner East project, I would recommend the following:

https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/tag/mariner-east-2/ (233 articles about mishaps and delays)

https://youtube.com/watch?v=ZrRwFghyvgw&list=PLv-JVvCoZ7LdRXbbStKloOJv1Q3W4xkwA (Hugh Brownstone’s documentary series, “Three Blind Men and an Elephant Production.”

This fight is not going away.

Ellen Gerhart

Union Township

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