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Sunoco passes through our area

Cell Tower at East Goshen, January 2002.


his is the result of three forces: greed, political indifference or cowardice and effete courts. While the first is justifiable in business, the last two aren’t. So, we got screwed by Pennsylvania.

This rang a distant, but familiar bell in our memory. For anyone pondering how this how the system’s supposed to work, consider another local issue a few years back. Around 2000 there was a new cell tower set up at the intersection of Paoli Pike & Route 352. If you don’t recall it, here are a couple of photos taken at the time.

Cell towers are a hot topic all unto themselves, however they serve only the immediate area where they’re installed. The telephone service isn’t whisked off to a Scandinavian country, so the public benefit is obvious. Strangely, the cellular telephone companies don’t seem to have the public convenience status even though they clearly serve the local population. Lacking this, it seems East Goshen got cold feet and booted a cell tower out even after issuing the permits and approval (link to 2002 article). So, after East Goshen recited what looks like a “that was then, this is now” edict, the cell tower was taken down. So, while it probably wasn't in the best interests of East Goshen residents, the final decision remained in their control. The system worked as designed, and we respect that. In the case of Sunoco, et al they never intended to provide any service to locals, yet managed to convice the Public Utility Commission (PUC) otherwise. This is the complete reverse of how it's supposed to work.

So, as the reasoning seems to go: company that ignores locals and deals with European customers gets the Certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN), the company that does provide a necessary utility to the local area didn’t get a CPCN. Especially considering that telephone companies are a classic case of legitimate need for the CPCN. And the PUC at least partially understood this as far back as 2011. As a reminder-the significance of the CPCN is the item necessary to get Eminent Domain authority. As long as the PUC endorses the CPCN, legal action appears to be a waste of time and money (recent example).

A better solution would have been to assign the CPCN to that single petroleum-carrying pipe in the 1930s, all others would be considered a separate project, and subject to judical & environmental review.

One upbeat piece of news: there was a recent favorable ruling regarding eminent domain. So, Ellen & Elise Gerhart will be back in court with Sunoco again, except Sunoco will be on the defense this time.

Sunoco’s been getting clumsy, which we surmise is probably complacency. They had it in the bag in southern Delaware County, and now they’re having serious leakage issues. Upshot: Jeff Shields is owning it, so that’s an improvement.

As with any turbulent situation, there will always be parties that try to take advantage of the situation.

Supervisors revoke flagpole permit

By kevin plunkett, Staff Writer January 09, 2002

EAST GOSHEN -- Supervisors have revoked a permit issued last month for three large flagpoles erected Dec. 13 on the East Goshen Bible Church property. The one 95-foot and two 85-feet-high poles are stealth communication towers built to accommodate cell phone antennae. Neighbors of the North Chester Road church rallied against the objects, charging the township misrepresented the pole's nature and purpose and claiming the structures would devalue their property.

The announcement was made Monday night at the township's reorganization meeting. Supervisors' Chairman Martin Shane said Tuesday the zoning officer never should have issued the permit.

The poles are, in fact, "commercial communications structures," Shane said, which are not permitted in the commercial zone in which the church is located.

Inside its commercial and residential districts, East Goshen allows radio antennae to be installed only on existing structures, for example, a utility pole or a water tower. Support structures for antennae are permitted only inside the township's industrial and business park zoning districts, Shane noted.

"A flagpole is one thing. The fact that there is a pole with a flag attached is different from what they are," he said.

In the absence of an appeal to the zoning hearing board by East Goshen Bible Church, the structures will have to come down, Shane said.

Lawrence Crabtree, pastor of the church, employed the Mountain Union Telecom Co. to install the towers as leased space for the cell phone company's antenae. This would generate money to expand his 50-year-old church, Crabtree has said. No attenae have yet been approved for the towers.

"At this point I don't know how to feel," Crabtree said. "If it happened, it seems to be a legal (matter). I don't know how you can revoke something without any kind of public hearing."

Ronald Woodworth, of Colonial Lane, has a Jan. 29 meeting scheduled with the zoning hearing board to contest the permit issuance. Woodworth noted the township engineer's report stated the poles are stealth communications towers resembling flagpoles.

"I don't know what this means. The thing is already built. Until the towers come down I don't see I succeeded. I think the evidence is overwhelming; the permit should never have been issued in the first place," Woodworth said.

Shane said although the permit has been revoked, Woodworth's zoning board meeting will go forward because "it has to be decided if the township was right or wrong in the issuance of the permit."”

A few pitfalls to avoid:

1.Professional protesters and semi-professional activist groups (additional details) diluting or hijacking the agenda outright. Recently a resident received a call from someone identifying themselves as “Sam” urging them to “speak with the West Goshen Supervisors” about the pipeline. It’s clear Sam hasn’t been following our story. Sam doesn’t go into further detail, but it turns out Sam is very likely Sam Rubin of the Washington DC based Non-Government Organization (NGO) called Food and Water Watch (link). We appreciate Food & Water Watch’s attention, although we need something more effective than vague instructions directing us to what we've already done.

Key indicator: they’ll hold community gathering for “awareness” while offering little in the way of real solutions. At the same time, they’re peddle membership to their organization. As always, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

2. Unscrupulous realtors – watch out for lowball offers from realtors. They know people have short memories, and if property values start to fall, they’ll have an opportunity to make a lot of money. Like anyone else engaging in speculative purchases, they'll look to buy low and sell high. If property values are high (as in eastern Chester County), they'll look for ways to temporarily push prices down. They know prices will return soon, recovering their money and far more.

One tactic was “blockbusting”, or creating the illusion your neighborhood was declining. They used a number of tactics including, but not limited to:

  • Hiring actors whose appearance was detrimental, usually an unwanted minority.
  • Purchasing property and intentionally neglecting it for visual effect and declining value of nearby properties.
  • Staging high profile incidents (protests, fights, etc) again, for visual impact. How do suppose the media knew to be there on location when the action started?

A more common scenario is simply increased property turnover, with realtors tyically making about 5-8 percent on the sale price. With a $250,000 home, that would be about $12,500 - $20,000 without requiring any addintional investment. Most homes in our area are now $500,000+, bumping the commission north of $25,000 - $40,000 per sale!

Key indicator: watch for detrimental trends or incidents that usually don’t happen in your neighborhood, followed by realtors offering to buy.


Other miscellaneous items:

  • It looks like Sunoco’s CEO Michael Hennigan
    Michael Hennigan
    got want he wanted, so he’s off to Ohio. We'll be watching for a change in Pennsylvania.
  • And Cold War style drills are returning to at least one school in preparation for a pipeline disaster.
  • And, the Daily Local is finally covering the construction, as is The Phoenix Reporter (Phoenixville). However, their file photo really doesn’t do justice to the damage to our landscape. The images that follow it what it really looks like.

Recent photos:


2017 Supervisor Primary Election Results

Democratic results

It looks like voter turnout might have been weak, but it was decisive. In the De

mocratic camp, Corvo was swept out in the contest between Lasota/Stuntebeck & Casey. If you declined to vote for Corvo, we'd sure like to hear how the wheels fell off Corvo's wagon (Email us). We have our own suspicions, but the election results are about you, not us.

In the Republican contest, Halvorsen & Murphy easily dominated the contest, with White & Swart becoming election spoilers for each other.

The numbers:





Republican results

White 341 14.28%
Swart 445 18.63%
Murphy 675 28.27%
Halvorsen 868 36.35%
Write-in 59 2.47%
Total 2388  

One detail that warrants mention: praise for all participants in their efforts to recover the election signs. They're disappearing quickly, a substantial improvement from years past.







Below is a summary of West Goshen's Supervisors & their terms from 1995 to present. Note that the two additional supervisor positions were created in an election about 2011-2012.

1995Ed MeakimRobert WhiteRay Halvorsen  
1996Ed MeakimRobert WhiteRay Halvorsen  
1997Ed MeakimRobert WhiteRay Halvorsen  
1998Ed MeakimRobert WhiteRay Halvorsen  
1999Ed MeakimRobert WhiteRay Halvorsen  
2000Ed MeakimRobert WhiteRay Halvorsen  
2001Ed MeakimRobert WhiteRay Halvorsen  
2002Ed MeakimRobert WhitePatricia McIlvaine  
2003Ed MeakimRobert WhitePatricia McIlvaine  
2004Ed MeakimRobert WhitePatricia McIlvaine  
2005Ed MeakimRobert WhitePatricia McIlvaine  
2006Ed MeakimRobert WhitePatricia McIlvaine  
2007Ed MeakimRobert WhitePatricia McIlvaine  
2008Ed MeakimRobert WhitePatricia McIlvaine  
2009Ed MeakimRobert WhitePatricia McIlvaine  
2010Ed MeakimRobert WhitePatricia McIlvaine  
2011Ed MeakimRobert WhitePatricia McIlvaine  
2012Ray HalvorsenRobert WhitePatricia McIlvainePhillip CorvoTheodore Murphy
2013Ray HalvorsenRobert WhitePatricia McIlvainePhillip CorvoTheodore Murphy
2014Ray HalvorsenWhite (Meakim after 8/28/2014)Patricia McIlvainePhillip CorvoTheodore Murphy
2015Ray HalvorsenEd MeakimPatricia McIlvainePhillip CorvoTheodore Murphy
2016Ray HalvorsenHugh
Phillip CorvoTheodore Murphy
2017Ray HalvorsenHugh
Phillip CorvoTheodore Murphy


Pipeline neighbors sue Sunoco Logistics

By Leslie Krowchenko, Times Correstondent

Posted: 05/09/17, 9:18 PM EDT | Updated: 1 day ago

MIDDLETOWN >> Six residents living adjacent to the proposed path of the Mariner East 2 pipeline filed a complaint against Sunoco Logistics in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Friday, seeking an injunction to enjoin the company from constructing the line in apparent violation of township code.

Meghan Flynn, who lives in Glen Riddle Station Apartments, James Fishwick, Glenn Jacobs and Gina Soscia, who reside in Tunbridge Apartments, Glenn Kasper, of East St. Andrews Drive and Alison Higgins, of Lenni Road, are seeking enforcement of a section of the code which states “in no case shall there be a distance of less than 75 feet between a dwelling unit and a petroleum or petroleum products transmission line.” Sunoco purchased the needed private property easements and the complaint states in each case state Department of Environmental Protection “maps show at least one pipeline closer than 75 feet to the building.”

The plaintiffs are also seeking enforcement of the portion of the code which indicates such lines must be “installed in the center of the easement.” The complaint adds the ordinances were adopted more than 50 years ago, long before Sunoco announced the project.

The residents asked the township last month to enforce the provisions of the code, adding if action was not taken in 30 days, they would consider filing suit against Sunoco. Council declined to pursue the request at its April 24 meeting.

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has affirmed in the Robinson Township series of cases that Pennsylvania municipalities have the authority to adopt and enforce ordinances to protect their residents from hazardous industrial operations,” said Michael Bomstein, counsel for the plaintiffs. “Unfortunately, Middletown council has failed to seek enforcement of its own ordinances, leading to this complaint.”

Spanning Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, the Mariner 2 and 2x systems would bring natural gas liquids such as propane, ethane and butane from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex. Approximately 11.4 miles would be installed in Delaware County across private and public property in Thornbury, Edgmont, the township, Aston and Upper Chichester, ending at the facility.

Federal pipeline safety regulations classify the three products as highly volatile liquids and siting such pipelines is not governed by state or federal authorities, according to the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety. The complaint notes locating the lines is addressed in the local ordinances.

“Sunoco’s published plans are a flagrant violation of the ordinances,” it states. “Issuance of the requested relief will be in the public’s best interest, as it will reduce the risk of harm to township residents and ensure consistent administration of township ordinances.”

When contacted, Sunoco Logistics Communications Manager Jeff Shields said the company would not be commenting on the action as it is pending legislation.


Powelson nominated to serve on FERC board

By Brian McCullough, Daily Local News

Posted: 05/09/17, 6:14 PM EDT | Updated: 1 day ago

HARRISBURG >> After months of rumors, a Kennett Square area resident who now sits on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission appears to be on his way to serving on a national board.

The White House announced Tuesday that President Donald Trump intends to nominate Robert F. Powelson of Kennett Square to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.

Members of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission offered their congratulations in public statements, confirming months of rumored reports that Powelson would be moving on.

“Commissioner Powelson is knowledgeable and passionate about public utility issues – from infrastructure investment and marketplace competition to innovation and the development of our next generation of utility workers,” Chairman Gladys M. Brown said. “He has also been a strong advocate for Pennsylvania and for the important role of utility regulators across the country. His service reflects well on the work of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and will be positive for the commonwealth.”

Added Vice Chairman Andrew G. Place: “Rob’s nomination comes at a key moment for federal environmental and energy policy. The reshaped commission will continue to be challenged to balance the demand for rational energy choices in support of both economic sustainability and environmental stewardship. The crucible of Pennsylvania has put him in a favorable position to navigate these demands.”

A PUC spokesman said Powelson was not available for comment Tuesday. The commissioner does not want to give interviews until his appointment has been finalized, said the spokesman.

FERC approves interstate energy-transmission projects, including some of the most controversial natural-gas pipelines now under consideration, according to S&P Global Platts, a provider of energy and commodities information.

In its statement announcing nominations to the board, the White House said Powelson’s term would expire June 30, 2020.

Powelson has served as a commissioner on the Pennsylvania PUC since 2008. He was first nominated to the PUC on June 19, 2008, by Gov. Edward G. Rendell and appointed chairman by Gov. Tom Corbett in 2011, the White House noted.

Currently, Powelson serves as the president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners based in Washington, DC. He also sits on the Electric Power Research Institute Advisory Board as well as the Drexel University Board of Trustees.

From 1994 to 2008, Powelson served as the president and CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry based in Malvern. In 2005, he was selected by the Eisenhower Presidential Fellow to be a United States fellow in Singapore and Australia. Powelson holds a bachelor of administration from St. Joseph’s University and a master of governmental administration with a concentration in public finance from the University of Pennsylvania, the White House said.

Neil Chatterjee of Kentucky, an energy policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was also nominated to FERC, it was announced Tuesday.

Pennsylvania PUC Commissioner John F. Coleman Jr. called Powelson’s nomination “prestigious”

“Commissioner Powelson always calls matters as he sees them,” added Commissioner David W. Sweet. “Not only does he have extensive knowledge about utility issues, but he is very skilled at developing creative solutions.”


Controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline project getting set for construction in Lower Swatara

Posted Wednesday, May 3, 2017 3:56 pm

By David Barr,

Lower Swatara Township soon will experience construction as part of the controversial $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 pipeline project, which spans the state and has come under fire from groups who question its safety and its effect on the environment.

Two pipelines, one 16 inches in diameter and one 20 inches in diameter will be installed in Lower Swatara Township.

Jeff Shields, communications manager for Sunoco Logistics Partners, said that the areas in Lower Swatara Township that would be most impacted are White House Lane, North Union Street and Oberlin Road, with construction most noticeable around White House Lane. In addition, other roads that will be impacted are Greenfield Drive, Stoner Drive and Rosedale Drive.

Mariner East 2 is an expansion of the existing Sunoco Mariner East pipeline system. In all, 17 counties in the southern tier of Pennsylvania will be affected by the project, which stretches about 350 miles.

It will transport liquified petroleum gases (LPGs), also known as natural gas liquids (NGLs), which opponents of the project say are dangerous if a pipeline ruptures, from Ohio and western Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook facility in Delaware County.

Sunoco Logistics officials informed the Lower Swatara board of commissioners at its legislative meeting April 19 on the plans for the project and the board updated the public on the maintenance plans. There is not a set starting date but it’s likely to be soon.

The maintenance agreement involves hauling and travel on state and township roads, driveway accesses, road bores that will be going horizontally under township streets, and horizontal-directional drilling under White House Lane and Swatara Park Road.

Sunoco Logistics officials hope the first completion date will be at the end of September 2017, with a final completion date of 2018, although there has been no specific time set for the second completion date.

Lower Swatara Township president Jon Wilt told the Press & Journal that he had no concerns regarding the project and the officials associated with the project have a pretty well established track record. He added that no one has expressed any concern or complaints about the project.

“I don’t think there’s anything to worry about,” Wilt said.

The agreement has security in the form of a bond estimated at $3,087,000. According to township engineer Erin Letavic, the intent of the bond is to cover full-replacement costs of the full-pave width for six township roads and right-of-way restoration for the unpaved width in the right-of-way if construction trucks cause any damage to that portion of the road.

“The intent is not to have Sunoco pave every street. The intent is to bond full replacement of any streets that are significantly damaged as a result of the work,” Letavic said.

Public Safety Director Frank Williamson said there will be a traffic limit to Sunoco-related vehicles on North Union Street and there will be a 100,000-pound combined weight limit for vehicles.

“It’ll be a total repair on North Union as needed,” he said.

Section 4 construction manager Brad Bonner told the board that while the plan is to install both pipes, work on the 16-inch pipe is lagging behind the work on the 20-inch pipe, so crews will complete the work on the 20-inch pipe and finish the 16-inch pipe later.

“According to my bosses, all work will be done this year, so that’s the standing plan,” he said.

Sunoco Logistics community relations representative Steve Kratz told the board that they “shouldn’t need to close any roads” but there may be some temporary flagging while equipment is moved in.


Middletown won’t act on pipeline neighbors’ complaints

By Leslie Krowchenko, Times Corespondent

Posted: 05/01/17, 9:33 PM EDT | Updated: 3 days ago

MIDDLETOWN >> Council has declined to pursue a request by six residents living adjacent to the proposed path of the Sunoco Logistics Mariner East 2 pipeline regarding code provisions relating to minimum setback distances for petroleum product pipelines.

The individuals, who live in Glen Riddle Station and Tunbridge apartments and on East St. Andrews Drive and Lenni Road, claim private-property easements purchased by the company would locate the pipeline closer than 75 feet to their buildings or homes, in violation of township code.

The complaint cited Chapter 210 of the township subdivision and land development ordinance. As the pipeline installation is not a subdivision and therefore not land development, the setback provisions do not apply to the project, said council Chairman Mark Kirchgasser following Monday night’s meeting.

“There is no legal way to enforce it,” he added. “It is apples and pears.”

Four of the residents live in the apartment complexes where the pipelines are planned for a space between buildings. One property owner lives 30 feet from her neighbor’s home and based on Sunoco’s plans to install two sets of pipelines, each would be less than 15 feet from the house, according to the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety.

The complaint is similar to ones filed by private residents in Thornbury and West Goshen townships. In those cases, the documents refer to portions of the township codes related to maintaining open space and pipeline impact radius setbacks.

A copy of the document was presented to the township March 31 and the coalition asked for a response within 30 days. Based on the decision, the residents indicated they may file suit against Sunoco in Delaware County Common Pleas Court, seeking to impose the distance requirements.

Coalition spokesman Eric Friedman declined to discuss pending or potential litigation.

“On behalf of the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety, I can say that council’s decision not to enforce its own thoughtfully-adopted code of ordinances is troubling and difficult to understand,” he said.

The meeting focused on two additional pipeline issues. The coalition hired Quest Consultants of Norman, Okla., to complete an independent hazards study focusing on the potential consequences and probability of a pipeline breach. The simulation centered on 450-student Glenwood Elementary School, where the pipeline and a valve station are proposed for installation 650 feet from the playground.

Council has questioned the criteria used for the study. The closest pumping station would be in Middletown, Dauphin County, 87 miles from the line entering the township, but the Quest report was completed as if the station was in Berks County. The latter is 50 miles closer to the township and the data generated significantly impacts the possible operating pressures, said Kirchgasser.

“The report used 1,200 psi measures in communicating the blast radius, but they would be more in the range of 500-600 psi,” he added. “We want the figures to be accurate, as the results will affect the emergency response.”

The study relied on modeling performed by industry experts along with a probability analysis based on an academically-supported methodology, said Friedman.

“In performing risk assessment, it is critical to model the plausible worst-case scenario as the baseline,” he added. “The hazards analysis is fully documented and was carefully and thoroughly reviewed before release.”

The township verified its information using three different sources and at the request of the coalition agreed to secure confirmation from a fourth entity.

Council also tabled Sunoco’s application for erosion and sedimentation control and stormwater management plans, as the applicant had not satisfied all the requirements from township Engineer Eric Janetka.


Big Oil Now Has Authority to Arrest You for Protesting a Pipeline on Your OWN Property

Posted by Claire Bernish on May 1, 2017 6:34 pm

If you’re a resident of Huntingdon County unfortunate enough to have your property in the path of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline, you can forget protesting — unless arrest and jail time aren’t an issue for you.

Common Pleas Court Judge George Zanic signed a rare and factious “writ of possession” order last week in favor of Sunoco, which had sought an “emergency measure” to thwart landowners protesting pipeline construction by occupying trees — on their own property.

In short, protesting encroachment of this pipeline on one’s own property will earn an arrest.

“We’re seriously looking at going to jail,” Elyse Gerhart told NPR. “I’m not the type of person who lets injustice go unchallenged, and neither is my mother. What we’re doing makes [Sunoco] show their true face.”

NPR’s StateImpact Pennsylvania reports,

“Ellen and Stephen Gerhart in Huntingdon, Pa., along with their daughter Elyse, have become outspoken critics of the pipeline and the use of eminent domain by the company to take possession of land along the 350 mile route.

“Charges against Ellen Gerhart were dropped after she was arrested last year for trespass on her own property. But with this new writ, Sunoco can enlist law enforcement to arrest anyone within the easement, including the actual property owners.”

Sunoco, in no uncertain terms, has garnered the full weight of support via force of the U.S. government against the interests of citizens who have done literally nothing else wrong but have their properties awkwardly situated where Big Oil wants its pipeline to run.

Elyse Gerhart took to the trees in early February with an unknown number of others facing similarly offensive corporate actions, after the unironically monikered Department of Environmental Protection granted permits for Sunoco to begin construction of Mariner East 2.

As the Gerharts’ attempt to stave off the corporo-government’s eminent domain seizure of private property winds its way through courts, Judge Zanic’s order effectively quashes any remnants of effective protest the landowners had at their disposal — rendering moot their objections in favor of Sunoco’s plans to complete its pipeline until court proceedings play out.

Sunoco Logistics, it is imperative to note, completed a long-anticipated merger with Energy Transfer Partners — of Dakota Access Pipeline notoriety — just two days ago.

Given the extreme measures ETP employed against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and supporting Indigenous and non-Native water protectors from around the globe — who were camped in opposition to DAPL for months near the banks of the Missouri River’s Lake Oahe reservoir — the move to usurp law-abiding civilians’ private property hardly comes as a shock.

Indeed, the pompousness of corporate theft of property under the already-contentious governmental program known as eminent domain seems par for the course for Big Oil — particularly now that industry darling, Donald Trump, occupies the White House.

Occupying treetops on their own properties has already led to the sort of disputatious confrontations, albeit on a smaller scale, which brought international scorn to the Dakota Access Pipeline Project. Although charges were ultimately dropped, authorities arrested Ellen Gerhart last year — for trespassing on her own property.

Attorney Rich Raiders is representing the Gerhart family in its challenge of eminent domain, and noted the court’s use of ‘writ of possession’ is “very rare and very unusual.”

A writ of possession technically allows authorities to seize control of everything you own — giving you and everyone in your household limited time to vacate the premises.

Twenty-seven acres of forests and wetlands comprise the Gerharts property in Huntingdon County, and the family has thus far stood resolute in refusing to voluntarily grant an easement and its 50-foot wide right-of-way with additional 25-foot staging area for the Mariner East line.

In their appeal to the Commonwealth Court, the family argues, in part, Sunoco’s planned liquid natural gas pipeline — “which would carry ethane, propane and butane from the Marcellus Shale to an export terminal in Delaware County” — is not in the public interest.

A common defense against eminent domain, any company arguing for seizure and use of private property normally bears the brunt of proving necessity and public interest — Sunoco, in this instance, claims Mariner East 2 would deliver needed heating oil to parts of Pennsylvania. Mariner East 1, the Gerharts and their attorney rebuff, already supplies what is needed — the second line is redundant and unnecessary.

In an email response to that claim, Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields asserted the writ of possession holds to the confines of the law, telling StateImpact,

“We are proceeding with construction in Huntingdon County and elsewhere and will conduct ourselves according to the law at all times.”

As with Energy Transfer Partners’ horrendous steamrolling of Native American rights concerning the justifiably maligned Dakota Access Pipeline, that black-and-white simplistic view of Big Oil’s manifest rights hardly comes as a shock — though its might makes right attitude has won no favor with landowners who otherwise couldn’t care less about the exploits of the industry.

This writ of possession and its granting authority to arrest property owners on their own land should they not permit notoriously faulty oil and gas infrastructure to impede in their lives proves yet again the government’s subservience to corporate industry over the rights of people supposedly governed.

No matter Sunoco’s and ETP’s brazen claims to superiority over individual property rights, the argument legality supersedes inalienable rights will never tacitly equate a moral high ground.

And as Big Oil finds new impunity to run roughshod where it sees fit, that legality does not equal morality has never been more clear.

The article, "Big Oil Now Has Authority to Arrest You for Protesting a Pipeline on Your OWN Property", was syndicated from and first appeared at:

You may find more great articles by Claire Bernish on


In Pennsylvania, Resistance Grows to Proposed Sunoco Pipeline

May 1, 2017

by Sarita Farnelli

After a drizzly week, Philadelphia’s weather granted residents and visitors an idyllic day on April 26, aligning with a gathering of dozens of community members at Bartram's Garden to raise funds for Camp White Pine, an anti-pipeline encampment in central Pennsylvania. The camp’s primary target is the Mariner East 2 pipeline, a project gaining notoriety for abuse of eminent domain and militarized expansion in a region particularly vulnerable to explosions and community displacement caused by oil and gas industry buildout. When asked, guests offered a variety of reasons for being there. Some came to support a friend providing music for the event. Others were drawn to the local fight by interest in the topic sparked in recent months by the indigenous-led battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Some were members or close supporters of EDGE Philly, the organization hosting the benefit.

Speakers included EDGE member Coryn Wolk, and an update from Camp White Pine was provided by organizer and supporter Ray. “I first want to acknowledge that we are currently standing on occupied Lenni Lenape territory. I find that that's a very important thing to acknowledge, because for one, there's no justice on stolen land, and two, as folks who are actively organizing resistance to defend land, we have to acknowledge that people were here before us, that extraction and the expansion of the fossil fuel industry is a continuation of colonization, and that also we can't be fighting for private property rights. That's still part of the problem,” said Ray. A zine, An Incomplete Indigenous History of the Susquehanna Valley, was available for guests to inform themselves on the topics of local colonization and imperialism.

Coryn Wolk, no stranger to the pipeline fight, provided some historical context. “I've been working on Mariner East in various capacity since around 2014. It was actually announced late 2013 but now it's becoming a big news story because Sunoco is trying to finally push construction on it,” said Wolk in her opening comments to the crowd. “It started out in 1930 when Sunoco built an oil pipeline running east to west across Pennsylvania. That was a public utility, as it was bringing oil for people in Pennsylvania. Fast forward to 2013 and Sunoco has decided that they want to build a natural gas pipeline carrying fracked gas to Marcus Hook, which is just out of Philly, for export.

“So obviously this is not a public utility, it's not serving Pennsylvanians; Pennsylvanians' needs are already met for what gas it is carrying, and because once upon a time Sunoco was carrying oil for public use, they have a certificate of public utility status for this pipeline. So because of that, they decided that not only could they repurpose that 80-year-old pipeline, they could build pretty much as many more as they wanted, based on this status.”

Wolk continued, “So the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, they've kind of said ‘We're not dealing with that,’ and unfortunately, Pennsylvania's court system is not the most just. A lot of Pennsylvanian courts have been taking them at their word. So Sunoco's been using this status to seize people's land from Ohio, where the pipeline begins, across Pennsylvania, and people really haven't had any recourse. So people are intimidated by the companies, and those who fight back, such as the Gerhart family, often face severe repercussions.”

Recently, more repercussions have landed on the family, who were served only days before the fundraiser with a writ of possession by their sheriff’s department. “Sunoco Logistics applied for this writ and the court granted it. [The writ] allows Sunoco the same access to the easement where the pipeline is to be built, but it increases the consequences for the Gerharts if they resist it,” Ray explained. In other words, the main change resulting from this development is harsher legal consequences for fighting the pipeline. “It's not surprising that the courts granted this. It means that Sunoco doesn't just want people to be arrested if they're blocking construction of the pipeline, they want them to be punished, and they want to make a huge deal out of it.”

This is, unfortunately, only a continuation of the horrors the Gerhart family, who founded the encampment, have faced since being forcefully brought into the narrative. “Two years ago was when Sunoco Logistics approached the Gerharts and offered them money for access to the woods behind their home to build this pipeline,” said Ray. “They have been resisting since then, resisting eminent domain proceedings, and a year ago, a year after that, even without all the permits that Sunoco needed to start building the pipeline, they sent in tree clearing crews to start clearing the trees. This is a classic move by the oil and gas companies, they do as much as they can to almost literally pave the way for construction even if they don't have all the rights yet. They just ease it through.”

The family has more reason for this fight than just an interest in protecting private property. “The Gerharts have about 70 acres of pristine woodlands that they live on,” explained Wolk. “They actually entered into an agreement over 20 years ago to preserve the woods on their property, and because of that and because they don't want to sell off the land for any amount of money, they said no. Since saying no, the mother of the family, Ellen Gerhart, a retired special education teacher, has been arrested three times. Elise, her daughter, has been arrested as well, and faced charges for actions on the pipeline. Sunoco has been closing in from both sides.”

Fortunately, the Gerharts and their supporters were prepared to put up a fight, or more accurately, to put up a tree sit. “For folks who don't know what a tree sit is, it's kind of a low budget treehouse that people get into to hopefully keep tree clearing crews from knocking down the trees that are connected to the tree sit,” Ray explained. “This tree sit was erected and tree clearing crews continued to clear trees within the right of way, but were not able to clear these trees. While this was happening, two supporters and Elise's mother were arrested. Some of the bails were set at $100,000 and $200,000.” A startled audience member shrieked in response.

“Yeah, pretty ridiculous, right?” Ray agreed. “It makes it very clear that it's very political how the law is being set in places where extraction is happening. Luckily those bails were reduced and people were able to get out. The sit persisted for two weeks, which is great, but unfortunately Elise, who lives there, was taken down from the sit and arrested. But those trees that were part of the sit are still alive. And that's where we stand today. That's Camp White Pine, and the tree sits that are currently going on.”

Needless to say, the camp falls into the category of “resistance camps.” However, there are important distinctions to make between similar sites of action, such as the now iconic Standing Rock reservation in Lakota territory. “I want to make it clear that this is very different because it's not indigenous-led,” said Ray, referring to Camp White Pine. “The stakes are very different. Our resistance is very different. But it's resistance nonetheless, and it’s not a one-off thing. For the last several years, people have been resisting pipelines and fracking doing road blockades, tree sits, through encampments, it's an ongoing process that's been escalating along with the fossil fuel escalation.”

Escalation is certainly not a foreign concept to the Gerhart family and supporters in the camp. “Sunoco has been getting its name smeared because of Standing Rock, and it's evil, and it deserves to have its name smeared, but it definitely wants to be making examples out of people, and wants to send people to jail for a really long time, which may happen, and that's part of why we need money. People are going to be arrested, it's almost a guarantee. They're going to have to go through pretty extensive legal proceedings, and that costs money. People will spend time in jail and that also costs money, to support them in it,” continued Ray, explaining why the fundraiser was necessary.

“We’re not doing resistance in a way that is easy for the nonprofit industrial complex to give us a whole bunch of money. We're being confrontational, not passive. It's hard to get money through the grant system, through which a lot of other organizations are able to get money. So that's why we're having to do events like this, or have bluegrass shows in the townie bar, or sell t-shirts and patches. In Philly there are a lot of resources, and it's really important that we share these resources with more rural people in rural places where they just don't exist. Central Pennsylvania is far away from everything. There's nothing around. And people don't have money. Anyone who is from rural Pennsylvania and has been fighting fracking knows that people out there don't get support for the work they do. Not from other states, not from a lot of nonprofits here in the state, it's just nonexistent while people are fighting for their lives.”

But despite a general lack of attention and resources, action camps have been powerfully effective in numerous ways. Camp White Pine seeks not only to draw attention to the construction and resistance to the Mariner East 2 pipeline, it also creates a physical barrier to expansion of the project, and an environment where skills for resistance can be shared among seasoned and new members of political and environmental movements. These are things that not every well-intentioned political demonstration can accomplish.

“Resistance doesn't happen in a day. It doesn't happen in a couple days. It doesn't happen on the weekend when you get off of work. It's definitely not going to happen by caravanning to DC on a Saturday when nobody is there, especially the President, who will actually be in Harrisburg, celebrating his 100 days,” said Ray in reference to the upcoming People’s Climate March. “The resistance has to be part of our lives. It needs to happen every day and be ongoing. That's how trust is built. That's how we're going to win.”

To donate to the Gerhart family, please visit:

To order “Defend What You Love” t-shirts to benefit Camp White Pine, please visit:

To donate to EDGE or to become involved, visit

Sarita Farnelli is a Philadelphia-based writer and organizer, covering grassroots movements and arts and entertainment. She can be found on Twitter at @sarita_ebooks.


Sunoco Breaking Ground in East Goshen

Ride along with us and witness construction on 352 in East Goshen, click to enlarge.

It looks like Sunoco has finally arrived. We observed new construction activity on Route 352 near Manley Road (map link).

There may have been some friction already, since the local flower shop (Matlack Florist) apparently posted a sign reading "No Pipeline Access".

We'll keep an eye on developments, in the meanwhile please browse some images of what's happening in your community.

Today on Route 352 in East Goshen, marker stakes are appearing. Click to enlarge.

Before construction on 352, click to enlarge. Image-Google maps street view.







Pipeline, sewer talk gets heated in West Goshen

By Bill Rettew,

Posted: 04/14/17

WEST GOSHEN >> Supervisors engaged in heated discussion Wednesday night on two big issues in the township – sewers and pipelines.

Talk concerning both pipelines and the sewer system was heated at times, during Wednesday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting.

Democrat Tom Casey and Republican Margie Swart, who are both running for seats on the board, battled with supervisors and staff prior to the borough’s vote to borrow from $20 million to $27 million through a bond issue.

Discussion also centered on a township lawsuit with Sunoco Logistics and its Mariner 2 pipeline.

The township filed a two-part lawsuit asking Sunoco to abide by what David Brooman, township special council, said were terms of a May 2015 settlement agreement.

The suit alleged that Sunoco did not build an emergency safety valve, as was agreed to, and has moved the location of proposed above-ground infrastructure improvements, at Route 202 and Boot Road.

The municipal authority serves West Whiteland, East Goshen, Thornbury and part of Westtown townships. The proposed Mariner East 2 pipeline would stretch from Ship Road to Wilson Drive in the township.

The proposed pipeline, which would carry Marcellus Shale products such as butane, ethane and propane, would zig-zag 23.6 miles through Chester County and 11.4 miles in Delaware County where it would impact Thornbury, Edgmont, Middletown, Aston and Upper Chichester before reaching its final destination in Marcus Hook.

Brooman said the township was successful after Sunoco installed an emergency safety valve in the existing 8-inch Mariner East 1 Pipeline. He said Sunoco complied within 30 days of receiving the lawsuit.

“We filed a complaint requesting that Sunoco put in a fully automated safety valve (in Thornbury Township) and they did that,” Brooman said. “It’s moot, there’s nothing left to litigate.”

Casey believes that pipeline companies are bidding out another 5-7 pipelines to cross through the state, which will eventually deliver Marcellus Shale products to the refinery in Marcus Hook.

“We could be setting a very dangerous precedent with future pipelines,” Casey said. “The pipeline companies consider their existing right-of-ways, which often cross residential zones, as highways.”

The township will continue to battle Sunoco.

An over-55 community was planned for the site on the south side of Route 202. The township was slated to receive $2 million in storm water and other improvements from Traditions of America, Brooman said.

Sunoco plans to place two automated valves on the south side of Route 202 at the Janiec property, near the West Goshen firehouse, rather than what the township contends was supposed to be the north side of Route 202.

The board also gave the OK for the sewer authority to sell from $20 to $27 million of bonds for sewer system improvements. The deal has not yet been finalized.

The board voted 3-1 to authorize seeking the bond issue for the sewer authority. Supervisor Chris Pielli was opposed and Raymond Halvorsen was absent.

The authority is seeking bonds through RBC Capital.

Township Solicitor Kristin S. Camp said that income from customers would pay for both operation of the system and the bond issue.

Supervisors voted to guarantee the bonds.

Several audience members and Pielli were concerned that the authority had seemingly not fully considered seeking a bank loan or other forms of long-term financing.

“The authority is ineffectual at this point,” Casey said. “It cannot continue this way. It’s not how it’s supposed to work out.”

Pielli questioned whether the township had used all “due diligence” and whether the township was “haphazardly” operating.

“I’m yet to see any proof of a competitive process,” Pielli said. “We haven’t looked into other options. We’re diving into this head first.

Pielli also said the township might consider selling the authority, which he valued at approximately $70 million.

“I want to reap the maximum value for our township,” he said. “It can be run efficiently by the private sector.


Local reps take pipeline issue to the state level

By Bill Rettew,, @dailylocal on Twitter

Posted: 03/18/17

WEST GOSHEN >> With several township residents strongly opposing installation of the proposed Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline, a pair of elected representatives is fighting to improve safety and a public sharing of the financial bounty generated by pipelines.

Two Chester County elected officials, Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19, and new Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-156, have taken the fight to Harrisburg.

Dinniman has been addressing the pipeline issue for five years. While he no longer represents West Goshen Township, he has supported several pipeline bills concerning notification, the financial impact and cost, safety and preserving the environment.

Chester County is home to the third most miles of pipelines in the state.

Comitta wants to make pipelines safer.

“I have a great deal of confidence in local emergency services personnel,” Comitta said. “They are highly dedicated and highly trained and I don’t have a concern about that, but we need additional training. I don’t know what the additional costs would be, but we should find out and support local emergency responders for what they need.”

Dinniman favors legislation that is “safe and respectful” and absorbs the cost impact on communities to get the product to market, Dinniman said. ”Everybody can have their cake and eat it too.”

Comitta represents West Goshen and is part of ongoing state budget discussions.

“Whether or not you support (pipelines), public safety has to be our number one concern.”

Better regulation to improve safety is key.

“Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is part of the Pennsylvania Constitution — clean air, fresh water,” Comitta said.

Dinniman supports taxing pipeline owners.

Last year’s SB-905 would have accessed a real estate tax to support local municipalities and school districts. Pipeline right-of-way would be taxed based on square footage, like conventional homeowners and businesses now are. Twenty other states now levy a fee.

“These companies say they want to be good neighbors,” Dinniman said. “Here is a way to prove it.”

Dinniman said that Chester County is “right in the middle of the way” for shipping Marcellus Shale products to ports in Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia, which then ship product all over the world.

Dinniman also supports charging impact fees based on the price of the product, last year’s bill (SB- 557).

“We’re impacted but there’s no impact fee,” Dinniman said. “There is not one cent of profit from Marcellus Shale (products) and gas unless it gets to market.”

(SB-991) would regulate pipeline company land agents.

Dinniman said that several residents have recounted bad experiences, including late night house calls, sometimes before holidays.

The senator favors registering and creating state IDs for pipeline company representatives. Residents would be able to complain to the state about a registered agent, much like they can with a licensed real estate agent.

“If a person is abusive or gives wrong information then you can file an official complaint.”

A series of Dinniman-favored senate bills (SB- 801, 802, 803 and 804) would guarantee residents are properly notified and educated. Pipeline right-of way seizure by eminent domain would need to be approved by a state agency.

Dinniman also supports protecting agricultural conservation easements with a plan to replace land used for pipelines – acre for acre – like is common with mitigation parks, when property is taken by eminent domain.


Sunoco Fires Back At West Goshen Township

Hints at suing West Goshen

Sunoco responded to West Goshen's latest response in a letter to WG's township solictor. By the sound of it, Sunoco's confident things are decidely in their favor. (link to letter)

Sunoco has hinted they may sue if WG continues action, an interesting response since Sunoco appear to be out of contract. The excerpt appears below.

Also, it appears it's open season on the financial institutions funding this. See the bulleted list articles below, particularly the last five.

Any effort by West Goshen Township to apply its zoning ordinance to the valve is meritless and appears to be motivated by an improper purpose, specifically, harassing SPLP and causing unnecessary delay to the ME-2 project

We respectfully remind you that, in addition to those remedies that may exist via administrative proceedings, SPLP may avail itself of all legal options available to preserve its rights. Such legal options include filing a § 1983 action to protect SPLP’s rights to equal protection under the law and due process, and seeking attorneys’ fees in connection therewith. See Am. Marine Rail NJ, LLC v. City of Bayonne , 289 F. Supp. 2d 569, 584 (D.N.J. 2003) (upholding § 1983 action where entity alleged that municipality violated entity’s substantive due process rights); Assocs. In Obstetrics & Gynecology v. Upper Merion Twp. , 270 F. Supp. 2d 633, 655-56 (E.D. Pa. 2003) (upholding § 1983 action based on Town ship’s selective enforcement of zoning ordinances); see also RHJ Medical Ctr., Inc. v. City of DuBois , 754 F. Supp. 2d 723, 763 (W.D. Pa. 2010) (“For three decades, the Supreme Court has held that municipalities do not have immunity from suits stemming from 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”).

Please confirm that your client will not interfere with SPLP’s right to proceed with its placement of the valve, as depicted on the Tetra Tech plan dated March 26, 2015, last revised September 30, 2016.

Other related news items:

West Goshen files complaint against Sunoco Logistics in pipeline battle

By Ginger Dunbar, Daily Local News

Posted: 02/17/17, 3:59 PM EST | Updated: 2 hrs ago

WEST GOSHEN >> The battle of Mariner East 1 and 2 is heating up.

Just days after Sunoco Logistics got the green light from the state Department of Environmental Protection for several key permits needed to start construction of its proposed pipeline, West Goshen Township filed a complaint on Friday with the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, alleging the company breached terms of a settlement in regards to the company’s plans.

The township filed the complaint against Sunoco Logistics in regard to the Mariner East 1 and 2, which will carry Marcellus Shale byproducts such as ethane, butane and propane across the state, through West Goshen in Chester County and eventually to the company’s Marcus Hook refinery in Delaware County.

Mariner East 1 is already in use, completed in late 2014, and is shipping both ethane and propane. Mariner East 2, which would deliver hundreds of thousands of barrels of the gases at high pressure to the former Sunoco refinery site on the Delaware River waterfront, is still in the planning stages.

“the ongoing lack of a remotely operated valve at pipeline marker 236.6 constitutes a clear, present and ongoing danger to the citizens of the township” and “despite the clear, present and ongoing danger to township residents … (Sunoco Logistics) has delayed, engaged in obfuscation, and provided outright false reasons for why the automated valve closure … has not been installed despite the passage of more than two years and nine months since the settlement agreement was finalized. "

..." The township also recently learned that Sunoco Logistics plans to install and operate an above-ground pipeline valve at Mariner East 2 pipeline mile marker 344, near Greenhill and Boot Roads, in West Goshen. Sunoco Logistics promised in the settlement agreement to not construct or operate any additional above ground facilities for Mariner East 2 in the township without first notifying the township supervisors. The supervisors noted that no such notification was received from Sunoco Logistics, which the township contends also is in violation of its agreement with the township."

In a press release, West Goshen officials said they took the move in an effort to protect its residents and their properties. The township claims it negotiated with Sunoco Logistics to install remotely operated valves to be operational at two separate Mariner East 1 pipeline markers within 150 days of a June 15, 2015, settlement agreement. The valves are designed to permit remote and automatic mainline valve closure, isolating segments of the pipeline in the event of an emergency. To date, only one of those valves has been installed, according to the township.

“Sunoco Logistics did not live up to their commitments,” said attorney David Brooman, of High Swartz LLP in Norristown, special counsel to West Goshen Township. “This is surprising, disappointing and a violation of the 2015 settlement agreement. West Goshen Township intends to hold Sunoco Logistics to the letter and spirit of the settlement agreement.”

Jeffrey Shields, a spokesman for Sunoco Logistics, said in a statement that Sunoco is complying and will continue to do so.

“Sunoco Pipeline is in full compliance with the settlement agreement, and intends to meet all of its obligations,” Shields said. “We are disappointed that West Goshen chose to file a complaint, we dispute the allegations contained in the complaint, and we will vigorously defend this action before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The Mariner East 1 system is fully compliant with all federal and state safety regulations as currently operated.”

The complaint alleges that “the ongoing lack of a remotely operated valve at pipeline marker 236.6 constitutes a clear, present and ongoing danger to the citizens of the township” and “despite the clear, present and ongoing danger to township residents … (Sunoco Logistics) has delayed, engaged in obfuscation, and provided outright false reasons for why the automated valve closure … has not been installed despite the passage of more than two years and nine months since the settlement agreement was finalized.”

However, Sunoco said the valve is in place for safety.

“The automated valve site in dispute was agreed to as a safety enhancement, and the system is currently operating safely at or above those standards,” Sunoco said.

The township also recently learned that Sunoco Logistics plans to install and operate an above-ground pipeline valve at Mariner East 2 pipeline mile marker 344, near Greenhill and Boot Roads, in West Goshen. Sunoco Logistics promised in the settlement agreement to not construct or operate any additional above ground facilities for Mariner East 2 in the township without first notifying the township supervisors. The supervisors noted that no such notification was received from Sunoco Logistics, which the township contends also is in violation of its agreement with the township.

“We will vigorously advocate on behalf of our residents and urge Sunoco Logistics to honor the terms of the agreement it willingly consented to,” said West Goshen Township Manager Casey LaLonde. All five supervisors voted to file this legal action to protect the township residents.

The township has petitioned the PUC to issue an order declaring that Sunoco Logistics is in material violation of the 2015 settlement agreement and requests that Sunoco Logistics be required to install and have fully operational a remotely actuated mainline valve at mile marker 236.6 within 30 days of the Pennsylvania PUC’s ruling.

The township further requests that the PUC issue an order directing Sunoco Logistics to cease and desist with any actions in support of constructing, installing or operating any valve or additional above ground facilities for the Mariner East 2 pipeline on any property located in West Goshen. The township also requests that Sunoco Logistics face sanctions, including a daily fine, for its breach of the settlement agreement.

Sunoco Logistics is proposing to expand the existing Mariner East pipeline system through the construction of the Mariner East 2. It would be approximately 350 miles to transport natural gas liquids through Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. The length of the project through Chester County is approximately 23.6 miles and in Delaware County, 11.4 miles.

Environmental groups filed an appeal after the state Department of Environmental Protection granted Sunoco Logistics the permits to complete the pipeline to carry propane, ethane and butane from the Marcellus and Utica shale areas to the Sunoco Logistic refinery in Marcus Hook, where it will be processed and shipped around the world. The Clean Air Council, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Mountain Watershed Association appealed the decision, contending the negative impacts of the project have not been adequately addressed.


Happy New Year 2017

From everyone here, we wish you the best for 2017 and beyond.

In the latest West Goshen newsletter there was an article about adopting a historical commission. It will preserve what's here, and potentially make some local spots more attractive as a holiday tourist spot. East Goshen and other townships have been doing this for years. We've groused at WG township for unfavorable decisions in the past, they should get an atta-boy for this. This is a big step in the right direction. Thanks to the Board of Supervisors for this.

We'll have new material up shortly, in the meantime all previous material is still available in our archives.

From Eastbootroad, enjoy the holiday season. As always, thanks ever so kindly for the reader article contributions, and tips.

The Ants & The Elephant


our efforts have gained recognition. West Goshen and a handful of surrounding townships are recognized as significant sources of resistance by the media.

“The Mariner East project has the potential to jeopardize public safety … by construction methods, accidental leaks, explosions or fire,” said a Dec. 19 proclamation by Delaware County’s Edgmont Township, the most recent to express its concerns.

The others are West Goshen, Thornbury, Middletown, Westtown, Rose Valley, Swarthmore and Media.

In combination, the initiatives appear to represent more advanced resistance to the pipeline plans than on any other part of the route across the state.


Apparently we are the new political Viet Cong.

And we are making them cry and bleed money. Between the lackluster stock performance, more groups joining our cause and protracted delays, they're feeling our anger.

Also, we're including ways to put pressure on the financial institutions supporting them.

One group continued to fight well past the point they should have regrouped, and maybe re-examined their strategy. Apparently they didn't. Our concern is the legal fallout for the remainder of us seeking legal relief.

Details on each point follow below, it's here to show that we're making progress, and the effect your efforts are having.

Keep up the good work.

Newcomers to our cause

We have a new ally, Rose Valley. They aren't in the pipeline's path, but (smartly) aren't waiting to see if it will. They're already unanimously to approve a resolution expressing their “grave concern” about the pipeline.

West Texas is becoming aware, and almost annoyed that it required the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to intervene in North Dakota. This also highlights their struggle with the Trans-Pecos Pipeline in Texas. (more)

New Headaches for Sunoco, Petrochemical Industry

Iowa Utilities Board Sued by Landowners

A group of landowners whose property was seized through eminent domain for the purpose of the Dakota Access pipeline had their day in court on this morning. The landowners contend the Iowa Utilities Board focused too much on the economic benefits of a pipeline when it granted Dakota Access a construction permit and use of eminent domain. Instead, they say, the focus should have been on the potential service a crude oil pipeline provides to Iowans, which they say is negligible. So the landowners posit the IUB lacked valid reasons grant the pipeline permit. The utilities board argues that since the pipeline is already finished in Iowa, the case is moot. But furthermore the IUB says it was appropriate to consider the economics of the oil market.


Sunoco's Mediocre Stocks

"If a company has a score of 8 or 9 it is considered strong. If the score adds up to between 0-2 points, the stock is considered weak."


Sunday, January 15, 2017

F-Score Review on Shares of Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE:SXL)

January 13, 2017 EBJ Staff

Investors may be looking at the Piotroski F-Score when doing value analysis. The F-Score was developed to help find company stocks that have solid fundamentals, and to separate out weaker companies. Piotroski’s F-Score uses nine tests based on company financial statements. Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE:SXL) currently has a Piotroski F-Score of 5. One point is given for piece of criteria that is met. Typically, a stock with a high score of 8 or 9 would be seen as strong, and a stock scoring on the lower end between 0 and 2 would be viewed as weaker.

Adept investors may be in the process of testing multiple strategies as they strive to maximize returns. Some investors may be focused on price index ratios to help develop trading ideas. Currently, Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE:SXL)’s 6 month price index is 0.89929. The six month price index is calculated by dividing the current share price by the share price six months ago. A ratio above one indicates an increase in share price over the period. A ratio below one shows that there has been a price decrease over the time period.

Investors tracking shares of Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE:SXL) may be also be analyzing the company’s FCF or Free Cash Flow. FCF is a measure of the financial performance of a company. FCF is calculated by subtracting capital expenditures from operating cash flow. Currently, Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE:SXL) has an FCF score of 0.932116. The FCF score is an indicator that is calculated by combining free cash flow stability with free cash flow growth. Typically, a higher FCF score value would indicate high free cash flow growth. The company currently has an FCF quality score of -6.340485. The free quality score helps estimate free cash flow stability. FCF quality is calculated as the 12 ltm cash flow per share over the average of the cash flow numbers. With this score, it is generally considered that the lower the ratio, the better.

Let’s also do a quick check on the Q.i. (Liquidity) Value. Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE:SXL) has a current Q.i. value of 55.00000. This value ranks stocks using EBITDA yield, FCF yield, earnings yield and liquidity ratios. The Q.i. value may help investors discover companies that are undervalued. A higher value would represent low turnover and a higher chance of shares being mispriced. A lower value may represent larger traded value meaning more sell-side analysts may track the company leading to a smaller chance shares are priced incorrectly.

When narrowing in on the Value Composite score for Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE:SXL), we notice that the stock has a rank of 29. This is using a scale from 0 to 100 where a lower score may indicate an undervalued company and a higher score would represent an expensive or possibly overvalued company. This rank was developed by James O’Shaughnessy in 2011. The score is derived from five different valuation ratios including price to book value, price to sales, EBITDA to Enterprise Vale, price to cash flow and price to earnings.


The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said operators of the approximately 200,000 miles of hazardous liquids pipelines across the U.S. will have to perform more frequent inspections, extend inspections outside so-called high-consequence areas, and install leak-detection systems on all pipelines.

The measures also include extending reporting requirements to gathering lines – those that connect well-heads to larger transmission lines – that are not currently regulated by PHMSA.

The new rule strengthens the standards for the maintenance of ageing and high-risk infrastructure, increases the frequency and quality of tests, and extends leak-detection requirements, the agency said.


Current Status

MIDDLETOWN >> Although the vote is not scheduled until Jan. 23, more than 60 township residents attended Monday night’s council meeting to show their support for approval of a quantitative risk assessment regarding the proposed Sunoco Logistics Mariner 2 pipeline. Council voted in September to approve the necessary easements and rights-of-way for the project. The township received $1.8 million for the use of the municipal land, $100,000 of which has been allocated for an assessment and specific emergency response plans. Members of council and the pipeline safety advisory committee have met several times in the ensuing months to establish the goals of the assessment.

“The changing energy environment in the United States requires that we all become increasingly anticipatory, predictive, and prepared for emerging risks,” said Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez, in a statement. “This is a forward-looking rule – it pushes operators to invest in increased data capabilities, to continuously improve their processes to assess and mitigate risk, and strengthens our framework for strong prescriptive regulations.”




10 States Where Citizens Are Fighting Pipeline Projects

Dec. 21, 2016 04:39PM EST

By Alexandra Rosenmann

With the Dakota Access Pipeline nearly 90 percent complete, developers are focusing their attention elsewhere. Meanwhile, protests against additional pipelines throughout the country have yet to receive a tenth of the airtime.

"If you draw a line from Chicago to the Gulf Coast—Houston, Port Arthur, Baton Rouge—that line goes through Patoka, Illinois," John Moody, a spokesman for the Association of Oil Pipelines told the Chicago Sun Times.

"Then start in Cushing, Oklahoma, and draw a line across to Cleveland and Detroit and central Ohio, and that line goes through Patoka. Patoka is a crossroads for energy delivery."

Beyond North Dakota, here are 10 states that have also been battling pipeline projects.

1. Ohio

Construction of the 255-mile Nexus Gas Transmission project, a partnership between Houston-based Spectra Energy and Detroit's DTE Energy, is expected to begin by early 2017.

2. Iowa

The Dakota Access Pipeline project faced resistance in Iowa long before it reached Standing Rock. In July 2015, landowners in its path urged the Iowa Utilities Board to reject permits needed for the project to proceed.

"Our century-plus-old farm was taken care of for four generations and I will do my best to keep it that way," they wrote in their objection. But the anti-pipeline group Bold Iowa has pledged to keep fighting the four-state, 1,172-mile crude oil pipeline until it becomes operational. The group's direct action includes standing in court with Iowa landowners in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline battling eminent domain abuse.

3. Texas

Standing Rock's success this December reinvigorated a more than two-year battle to half construction of the Trans-Pecos pipeline, a 148-mile joint venture with Mexico's federal electricity commission, the Comisión Federal de Electricidad.

4. Louisiana

The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline is currently planning a 162-mile pipeline that would cut through the Atchafalaya Basin and 11 Louisiana parishes. But resistance to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline has already spread worldwide. Concerned citizens and environmental groups from New Zealand to South Africa have gathered thousands of signatures, leading the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to call for a public hearing in which the water quality permits of the site will be assessed.

5. Florida

The Sierra Club, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and Flint Riverkeepers filed a motion in late October to expedite review of the Southeast Market Pipelines Project, which includes the $3.2 billion Sabal Trail gas pipeline. Protests have continued for the past month and 16 demonstrators have been arrested thus far.

6. Alabama

On Nov. 15, outside the Army Corps of Engineers building, Huntsville protesters gathered in solidarity with the thousands at Standing Rock. The Sabal Trail pipeline is set to cross three states and cover 500-plus miles (86 in Alabama, 162 in Georgia, 268 in Florida).

7. Arkansas

Diamond Pipeline is a planned 440-mile oil pipeline by Plains All American Pipeline and Valero Energy Corp across 14 counties and five rivers in Arkansas. The project is set to begin by the end of 2016.

8. North Carolina

A nearly 600-mile proposed pipeline drew protests in three cities on Nov. 19. In Pembroke, Fayetteville and Nashville, hundreds marched in opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline which awaits a review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Dominion Power and Duke Energy's $5 billion project would carry natural gas to North Carolina from fracking operations in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

9. Pennsylvania

Sunoco Logistics pushed back the timeline for its Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline on Nov. 12. The $2.5 billion project has not yet received the necessary approvals, even months after charging Huntingdon County residents who objected to the pipeline being built on their property.

10. New York

The National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. awaits approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin its proposed $410 million Northern Access Project in Western New York. Meanwhile, 50 miles outside of New York City, Spectra Energy's pipeline expansion project continues to face controversy.

“The changing energy environment in the United States requires that we all become increasingly anticipatory, predictive, and prepared for emerging risks,” said Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez, in a statement. “This is a forward-looking rule – it pushes operators to invest in increased data capabilities, to continuously improve their processes to assess and mitigate risk, and strengthens our framework for strong prescriptive regulations.”


Sunoco Victories and other Unintended Consequences

(what can happen when people represent themselves, or fail to grasp an effective strategy)

Pa. Supreme Court rejects appeal by property owners fighting land seizures for Mariner East II pipeline

Matt Miller |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear an appeal by Cumberland County property owners who are fighting the drive by Sunoco Logistics to seize their land for the Mariner East II natural gas transmission pipeline.

"The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear an appeal by Cumberland County property owners who are fighting the drive by Sunoco Logistics to seize their land for the Mariner East II natural gas transmission pipeline.


The decision by the state's highest court comes five months after a divided Commonwealth Court panel rejected a plea by the three couples. The Supreme Court justices did not state a reason for refusing to hear the landowners' appeal of the Commonwealth Court ruling."

The decision by the state's highest court comes five months after a divided Commonwealth Court panel rejected a plea by the three couples. The Supreme Court justices did not state a reason for refusing to hear the landowners' appeal of the Commonwealth Court ruling.

The pipeline opponents - R. Scott and Pamela Martin and Douglas and Lyndsey Fitzgerald of North Middleton Township, and Harvey and Anna Nickey of Lower Mifflin Township - have lost every round of the court fight.

They went to Commonwealth Court after county President Judge Edward E. Guido dismissed objections they filed to try to bar Sunoco from taking parts of their land through eminent domain.

In siding with Guido, the majority on the seven-member panel of Commonwealth Court judges found that Sunoco is a "public utility corporation" that has the power to seize private land for its multi-state pipeline. Commonwealth Court Judges Patricia A. McCullough disagreed with that decision. McCullough claimed it will "gravely undermine" property rights.

Mariner East II is to run from Washington County across Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook in Delaware County. The pipeline is to extend into Ohio and West Virginia as well. It is to have off-load points in Pennsylvania, but its products also are to be shipped out of state.

Sunoco is proposing to permanently take 1.5 acres of the Martin's land on Longs Gap Road; 0.14 acres of the Fitzgerald's land along Pine Creek Drive and 0.7 acres of the Nickey's property off the Blain McCrea Road.



What You Can Do


it back at a legal pressure point. Hard. That's exactly what some people are doing to the financial instututions funding some of the pipeline. Many of these financial instutions are bleeding customers, and are already in damage control mode. Bear in mind, they're making a lot of money from this project, and otherwise have no skin in the game. Know this: the banks and investors will never allow this in their neighborhood.

A few familiar institutions appear (Wells Fargo, Downingtown, Citizens, JP Morgan, etc.):

  • Wells Fargo
  • BNP Paribas
  • SunTrust
  • The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
  • Mizuho Bank
  • Citibank (CitiGroup)
  • TD Securities
  • Credit Agricole
  • Intesa SanPaolo
  • ING Bank
  • Natixis
  • BayernLB
  • BBVA Securities
  • DNB First Bank
  • ICBC London
  • SMBC Nikko Securities
  • Societe General
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • ABN Amro Capital
  • Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
  • Citizens Bank
  • Comerica Bank
  • U.S. Bank
  • PNC Bank
  • Barclays
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Bank of America
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Compass Bank
  • Credit Suisse
  • DNB Capital/ASA
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Bank
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • UBS
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Community Trust Bank
  • HSBC Bank


Keep this in mind when you do your banking. Here's an article outlining strategies for minimizing support for the Dakota pipeline, but it'll work just as well here. The article text appears in the inset, below.

A citizen’s guide to divesting from morally ambiguous national banks

For the latter half of 2016, the public resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) captivated hearts across the nation and the world. Thousands of indigenous and nonindigenous “water protectors” gathered at the Sacred Stone Camp within the Standing Rock Indian Reservation to prevent Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics from invading ancestral tribal land with a pipeline designed to channel oil beneath the Missouri River.

On December 4, the US Army Corps of Engineers denied the easement that would have allowed the pipeline to proceed across the river. Yet the battle for indigenous water rights is far from over. The corporations behind the DAPL immediately responded with a statement reassuring their investors that they would find a way to proceed despite the government injunction. President-elect Donald Trump supports the pipeline and once had as much as $1 million invested in Energy Transfer Partners. The political tide may be washing against the water protectors.

Many of these investors are morally opaque national banks. Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Wells Fargo, Chase and Citibank are named in various public archives as lenders or partners in groups that support the DAPL. Food & Water Watch published a list of 38 major financial institutions that are bankrolling this pipeline project and others like it. The divestment action website is distributing a list of bank CEOs and other executives who are directly involved in the DAPL project.

A growing number of Americans are choosing to open accounts with credit unions — nonprofit and member-owned money-saving cooperatives that provide an alternative to for-profit banking institutions. Whereas a typical bank is run by career financial executives, a credit union is run by a volunteer board of directors who are elected by the organization’s member-owners. If you open an account, you are a member-owner, and each member has an equal say in how the union operates. One member’s savings become another member’s loan. Hence, instead of investing in the DAPL and who-knows-what-else, you are investing in your neighbors.

This article is a guide to removing your money from the banks that continue to pour their money into the DAPL and other pipeline projects. I will explain how to make your divestment a statement. I will then review local and federal credit unions that provide a more palatable alternative to your current bank. Finally, I will explain what it means for large financial institutions to fund the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Divestment is more of a mindset than a single action. It is the intention and practice of keeping your money from feeding things that you know are wrong. Divesting can send a powerful message to the parties responsible and inspire others to follow your lead. By exercising more control over what your money feeds, you can lessen your own (functionally nonconsensual) contribution to pipeline projects like the DAPL.

How to Make Your Divestment a Statement

1. Visit a branch of your DAPL-funding bank. State your intention to end all aspects of your financial relationship with the bank. Close your accounts, cards, loans, mortgages and any other ties. If you plan to move your money to a specific credit union, ask for a check containing your entire balance to be made out to that credit union for an easy transfer.

2. Speak to the branch manager or write them a letter that explains your reasons for leaving.

3. Make it public. Share your action on social media using hashtags like #NoDAPL and #DeFundDAPL, if you’re into that. Consider logging the sum of your divested balance at As of January 1, 2016, private citizens had removed more than $42 million from organizations that are funding the pipeline.

4. Move your money to somewhere trustworthy. Find a credit union in your area by using a search engine, asking around or entering your address at The National Credit Union Administration also offers a useful research tool. Connect for the Cause is a credit-union advocacy network created by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

How Banks are Funding the DAPL and Why Divestment Helps

If you are like most Americans, you maintain a checking or savings account in a large national bank. National banks are convenient because they are stable and maintain branches in many locations (for instance, Wells Fargo has 6,200 branches and 12,500 ATMs across 40 states, as well as the resources to build out many amenities, like support staff and mobile apps). They grow by making money off of that money through investments and interest rates. If you have money in an account with Bank of America, it is not stored in one location — or, strictly speaking, in any physical place at all. The money itself is distributed throughout various nebulous and far-reaching investment relationships. It is easy for large financial corporations to invest in ethically questionable ventures because their wealth, as a tool and an abstraction, becomes unhinged from direct human judgment.

Author and environmental advocate Bill McKibben of suggests that banks are more responsive to public pressure, while fossil-fuel-industry corporations are responsive to banks because their pipeline projects rest upon loans and lines of credit. Each of us plays a small role in the struggle between communities and fossil-fuel industries, but we can effect great change by making small choices collectively.

Think for yourself and do your research. Talk to credit-union support staff if you’re still undecided. Divesting is by no means the only way to help foster a more equitable America, but it’s a relatively straightforward measure with a powerful and immediate impact.


Meanwhile, the Dakota Protesters also went this route. They demanded meetings with the various financial institutions. Here's the outcome:

  • BayernLB, BNP Paribas, Mizuho Bank, and Suntrust declined.
  • Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BBVA Compass, ICBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Natixis, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation did not respond
  • Citi, Crédit Agricole, DNB, ING, Société Générale, TD, and Wells Fargo have agreed to meet with the protesters.


Happy New Year 2017 The Ants & The Elephant Newcomers to our cause
New Headaches for Sunoco, Petrochemical Industry Iowa Utilities Board Sued by Landowners Sunoco's Mediocre Stocks
Current Status 10 States Where Citizens Are Fighting Pipeline Projects Sunoco Victories and other Unintended Consequences
What You Can Do A citizen’s guide to divesting from morally ambiguous national banks West Goshen files complaint against Sunoco Logistics in pipeline battle
Sunoco Fires Back At West Goshen Township Local reps take pipeline issue to the state level Pipeline, sewer talk gets heated in West Goshen
Sunoco Breaking Ground in East Goshen In Pennsylvania, Resistance Grows to Proposed Sunoco Pipeline Big Oil Now Has Authority to Arrest You for Protesting a Pipeline on Your OWN Property
Middletown won’t act on pipeline neighbors’ complaints Controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline project getting set for construction in Lower Swatara Powelson nominated to serve on FERC board
Pipeline neighbors sue Sunoco Logistics 2017 Supervisor Primary Election Results Sunoco passes thourgh our area

“It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” — Grace Hopper

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