Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Locals Take Over Pipeline Office, Then Occupy Drill Rig

from Earth First Journal

from Lancaster Against Pipelines

A bus full of pipeline protesters. From Lancaster Against Pipelines facebook

Something extraordinary happened in Lancaster County yesterday.

A busload of fifty local residents took over the field offices of Williams/Transco at 805 Estelle Drive, Suite 101, in Lancaster. We dropped a 12 foot stretch of pipeline in Williams’s meeting room, sang songs through the hallways, and slapped a Condemnation Notice on the door before leaving. When a Williams employee complained about our visit, one of our residents deadpanned: “Sucks to be invaded, doesn’t it?”

Our message was simple and direct: we the people, whose lives and land are under assault by this toxic piepline, openly defy the “right” of dirty energy giants to profit at the expense of our health, safety, water, and land.

From there, the bus headed down to southern Lancaster County where Williams is drilling under the Conestoga River and desecrating federally recognized indigenous graves. The HDD process they’re using is the same one now contaminating drinking water along the Mariner East 2 pipeline.

We walked off the bus and sang our way straight onto the worksite, right past the workers, and up onto the drill rig itself. After police arrived, five bold residents locked arms and stood atop that monstrous machinery for another three hours, shutting down operations for the rest of the day.

By day’s end, the Drill Rig Five were arrested while defending our community. It’s a perversion of justice that law enforcement are sued to protect the financial interests of energy giants in Oklahoma over the health and safety of local residents. We look forward to the day when fossil fuel billionaires are stuffed into police cruisers for sabotaging our children’s future, rather than those of us peacefully working to protect that future.

Yesterday made one thing crystal clear: local communities are done waiting around for regulators, legislators, judges, and law enforcement to protect our most basic rights–pure water, healthy soil, clean air, and safe communities.

Until it’s illegal for dirty energy giants like Williams to seize farmland and force explosive pipelines next to our children’s schools, we’ll keep walking onto their destruction sites, dropping pipes into their corporate offices, and singing songs of defiance right onto their deathly drill rigs.

Momentum is shifting, and the industry knows it. That’s why they’re so desperate–and why we need to be more resolved than ever. And the march goes on!

Pennsylvania Halts Construction of Mariner East 2 Pipeline

from Unicorn Riot

Harrisburg, PA – On January 3, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued an Administrative Order halting all construction of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline. The natural gas liquids pipeline is being constructed by Sunoco Logistics, who in 2017 completed their corporate merger with Energy Transfer Partners. The pipeline begins at fracking fields in Scio, Ohio and crosses southern Pennsylvania to reach its terminus at refineries in Marcus Hook near Philadelphia, where the natural gas liquids will be exported by ship for use in the European plastics industry.

The decision by the DEP, which has historically sided overwhelmingly with oil and gas interests, comes after over 100 spills of drilling slurry have plagued construction along the pipeline route. Bentonite clay leaked from Mariner East 2 drill sites has damaged numerous streams and natural areas and tainted drinking water in private homes and public schools.

Horizontal directional drilling by Sunoco has also led to the “development of an expanding sinkhole that currently threatens at least two private homes and is within 100 feet of Amtrak’s Keystone Line”, according to PA State Senator Andy Dinniman.  

State regulators cited a long series of “egregious and willful violations” committed by the pipeline operator while constructing Mariner East 2. The DEP website’s Compliance and Enforcement section for Mariner East 2 shows 33 Notices of Violation sent between May 9, 2017 and January 8, 2018 regarding drilling incidents in over 12 counties.

The order from the Pennsylvania DEP essentially freezes all construction along the pipeline route, with specific exceptions allowing anti-erosion measures at pipeline dig sites as well as maintenance of horizontal directional drill (HDD) equipment.

Last summer, Unicorn Riot visited Camp White Pine, a direct action encampment using tree-sits and other tactics to obstruct the pipeline route. After they were served with notice, Sunoco had seized a portion of their forest land under eminent domain, Ellen Gerhart and her daughter Elise decided to invite supporters to live on the easement and have erected several complex aerial blockades.

In summer 2017, we also traveled to Chester County, outside Philadelphia, where drilling by Sunoco contractors for Mariner East 2 had damaged local water tables, destroying and polluting local aquifers and private wells. We heard from affected residents, as well as members of neighborhood-based Safety Coalitions working to address safety concerns posed by Mariner East 2.

While driving through Chester County, we also discovered Sunoco was conducting horizontal directional drilling within feet of dozens of homes in an apartment complex, exposing residents to extreme drilling noise and toxic fumes from an open waste pit.

Open pit for storing Mariner East 2 drilling waste at Whiteland Apartments

While the legal shutdown of virtually all construction along the pipeline route has been hailed as a victory by many activists, others have also pointed out that the order does not stop the pipeline entirely, and merely points out issues Sunoco must address in order to proceed.

Breaking: Monopod Blocks Tree Clearing and Construction of Mariner East 2 Pipeline in Pennsylvania

from Earch First! Newswire

An activist sits high up in a monopod made from a tree that ETP cut last year.

A monopod has been erected to block the heavy machinery that is currently clearing and chipping trees in South Central Pennsylvania to make way for Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) Mariner East 2 pipeline. The monopod—which is made out of a tree that ETP cut down last year—is currently about 200 feet from the encroaching heavy equipment.

This action is being carried out by Camp White Pine in South Central Pennsylvania. Camp White Pine has been physically blocking pipeline construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline since February, and the Gerhart family, whose property the camp is on, has been resisting the pipeline project since 2015.

The treesits that activists have been occupying for months are located on the west end of the property, while this new monopod blockade is on the east end. This latest phase of cutting and clearing off the east end of the property began in late October and has been moving closer to the camp each day.

Help support this campaign by sharing this information and contributing to the camp’s legal and bail fund at

Update from Camp White Pine

from Facebook

Recently we’ve been watching ETP’s heavy machinery prepare the sites for this destructive pipeline project on both sides of Camp White Pine. To the east along the ME2 easement, the work is closer than ever before and still closing in. In the days leading up to Halloween workers began clearing and chipping logs (along the easement where the trees had already been cut last year) to the east of camp, less than a mile away. Soon they were working on the ridge nearest to camp, and now they are in the small valley even closer to us, the machines clearly visible from the wetlands near the east edge of the Gerhart property. The first photo shows this area, with bulldozers perched on the top of the hill and two excavators partially visible moving logs in the valley. Clearly visible from the treesits, on and near the site for proposed HDD across the road, workers are active as the site changes from day to day.

It’s been a long time since camp first formed in February. ETP, sometimes working through their infamous contractor Tigerswan, has come after us with a writ of possession, an injunction, smear campaigns and surveillance and harassment and threats. Still we’re here, continuing to build and survive in the face of oncoming winter and advancing machines. We can never be sure of when ETP will finally come and try to evict the treesits; we’ve thought they would come before, especially when the company made legal moves against camp. ETP could wait even longer as they’ve pushed back their timeline for pipeline completion into later 2018 amid repeated drilling fluid spills and other unsafe practices. However the equipment they need to conduct the next phase of work on the land we’re defending – clearing away and chipping the remaining logs as well as cutting the treesit trees to prepare to turn the hillside into an HDD pad and work site – is close enough that it could reach us any day.

As confrontation (possibly) approaches imminently, we ask folks to please continue sharing and donating to camp’s legal and bail fund and spreading the word about the struggle against the Mariner East 2 and all extractive infrastructure projects.

Legal and Bail fund:…

Frackville Prison’s Systemic Water Crisis

from The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons

Bryant Arroyo, prisoner and “jailhouse environmentalist” at Pennsylvania’s SCI-Frackville.

by Bryant Arroyo /

On September 19, 21, 24 and 27, 2017, we prisoners at Pennsylvania’s SCI-Frackville facility experienced four incidences with respect to the crisis of drinking toxic water. While this was not the first indication of chronic water problems at the prison, it seemed an indication that things were going from bad to worse. This round of tainted water was coupled with bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, sore throats, and dizziness by an overwhelming majority of the prisoner population exposed to this contamination. This cannot be construed as an isolated incident.

Frackville water notice
This notice appeared at the prison in August 2017, notifying prisoners of a water problem at SCI-Frackville

The SCI-Frackville staff passed out bottled spring water after the inmate population had been subjected to drinking the toxic contaminated water for hours without ever being notified via intercom or by memo to refrain from consuming the tap water. This is as insidious, as it gets!

SCI-Frackville’s administration, is acutely aware of the toxic water contamination crisis and have adopted an in-house patterned practice of intentionally failing to notify the inmate population via announcements and or by posting memos to refrain from tap water, until prisoners discover it for themselves through the above-mentioned health effects.

In general, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) knows it has a water crisis on it hands. The top agencies like the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and EPA know about this open-secret and have conspired to deliberately ignore most, if not all, of the prisoners’ official complaints. DEP has received four drinking water violations from the EPA. But the underlying problem is money, money, and more money.

Earlier this year, federal officials warned DEP that it lacked the staffing and resources to enforce safe drinking water standards. That could be grounds for taking away their role as the primary regulator of water standards, and would cost the state millions of dollars in federal funding.

In a letter dated December 30, 2016, EPA Water Protection Division Director Jon Capacasa stated, “Pennsylvania’s drinking water program failed to meet the federal requirement for onsite review of of water system operations and maintenance capability, also known as a sanitary survey.” He added, “Not completing sanitary survey inspections in a timely manner can have serious public health implications.”

One example in the City of Pittsburgh led to the closure of nearly two dozen schools and a boil-water order for 100,000 people. State environmental regulators had discovered low chlorine levels, after testing the city’s water as part of an ongoing investigation into its water treatment system. The city has also been having issues with elevated lead levels. The EPA also told DEP that the department’s lack of staff has caused the number of unaddressed Safe Drinking Water Act violations to go from 4,298 to 7,922, almost doubling in the past five years.

This leaves us with 43 inspectors employed, but, to meet the EPA mandates, we need at the least 85 full-time inspectors. That means Pennsylvania inspectors have double the workload, and this has resulted in some systems not being inspected. Logically, the larger systems get routine inspections, and systems that have chronic problems get inspected, but smaller and rural system like ours may not be because we are the minority that society doesn’t care about. Persona non grata!

To top it off, Frackville is in Schuylkill County, near a cancer cluster of the rare disease known as Polycythemia Vera (PV). While there is not definitive research on PV, it is believed to be environmental in origin and could be water borne. There’s no telling how many of us may have contracted the mysterious disease caused by drinking this toxic-contaminated water for years without being medically diagnosed and treated for this disease.

The DOC refuses to test the inmate population, in spite of the on-going water crisis. What would happen, if the inmate population would discover that they have contracted the disease PV?! Obviously, this wouldn’t be economically feasible for the DOC medical department to pay the cost to treat all inmates who have been discovered to have ill-gotten the water borne disease.

Many Pennsylvania tax-payers would be surprised to know that our infrastructure is older than Flint, Michigan’s toxic water crisis. Something is very wrong in our own backyard and the legislative body wants to keep a tight lid on it. But how long can this secret be contained before we experience an outbreak of the worst kind.

Silence, no more, it is time to speak. I could not stress the sense of urgency enough. We need to take action by notifying our Pennsylvania State Legislatures and make them accountable to the tax-paying citizens and highlight the necessary attention about Pennsylvania’s water crisis to assist those of us who are cornered and forced to drink toxic, contaminated water across the State Prisons.

If you want to obtain a goal you’ve never obtained, you have to transcend by doing something you’ve never done before. Let’s not procrastinate, unify in solidarity, take action before further contamination becomes inevitable. There’s no logic to action afterwards, if we could have avoided the unnecessary catastrophe, in the first place.

Let’s govern ourselves in the right direction by contacting and filing complaints to our legislative body, DEP, EPA, and their higher-ups, etc. In the mountains of rejection we have faced from these agencies as prisoners, your action could be our yes; our affirmation that, though we may be buried in these walls, we are still alive.


After initially receiving this article from Bryant, this update came in: On Oct 26, 2017, at or about 8 p.m., Frackville shut down the Schuylkill County Water Municipality’s water source and switched over to this facilities water preserve tank. Staff here, indicated the Schuylkill Municipality was conducting a purge to the repaired pipelines, etc.

Then on Oct. 27, a or about 11 a.m., Frackville’s staff passed out individual gallons of spring water due to the dirty, toxic, contaminated water flowing from our preserve tank water supply. Here we go again!

More about the author, Bryant Arroyo, can be found on Additional sources for this article came from State Impact (A reporting project of  NPR member stations) and the Washington Post.

Mariner East II Pipeline Construction Crews Approaching Pennsylvania’s Camp White Pine; Help Needed

from It’s Going Down

Construction crews are closing in on both sides of Camp White Pine. For nearly two years, Elise and Ellen Gerhart, along with many allies, have been holding tree sits on their property to defend their land from Energy Transfer Partners’ Mariner East II Pipeline. The project would destroy their family’s land in order to export highly volatile fracking waste to Europe for plastics manufacturing.

Already during construction, Mariner East II has caused dozens of spills, contaminating water supplies and in some cases permanently damaging residential wells.

As the Gerharts prepare to take a bold stand to protect their land, they need our support.

Donate to the Camp White Pine legal defense fund here:

Action Against Mariner East 2 Pipeline


Earlier this week we took our first steps against the Mariner East pipeline in Pennsylvania, U$A. On the eve of the fall equinox, we approached several excavators and a flat bed truck on an active ME2 construction site in Media, PA and filled their fuel tanks and other liquid receptors with sand and sugar. After removing the fuel tank lid (there are diagrams about how to do this online), we recommend removing the filter just beneath it before pouring in these abrasives, for maximum damage to the whole machine, and being careful not to spill or leave other traces which would tip off the workers inspecting the machines the following morning. Human-caused ecological collapse and mass extinction are upon us, and we feel we must push ourselves to escalate the fight against it. We take this action in solidarity with Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya in Iowa, and struggles against ecological devastation and settler colonial violence everywhere.

[Philly Anti-Cap note: After being contacted by several concerned groups mentioned in this submission we have removed mention of their groups from this submission.]


from Facebook


Back in June 2017, Camp White Pine experienced an uptick in attempted infiltration. SOME entity sent no less than three infiltrators to the Huntingdon area who used various tactics to try to scheme their way into the movement.

One of them called herself “Aly Patrick.” She made contact with a local person who had been prominently in support of the Gerharts’ efforts to #StopETP since last year while that local was working in a public place. She befriended them, claiming she had moved to the area because of the lake, and because her online job allowed her freedoms. She asked a lot of questions, but couldn’t even answer the question of who her specific “online” employer was. She came to public rallies and was incredibly enthusiastic. However, she strategically avoided cameras at those events.

“Aly” claimed not to use any social media platforms. We found a picture of her anyway, taken at one of the rallies she attended. She was last seen driving a white sedan with Virgina plates and gave a phone number with a Tennessee area code. Please share with your networks, and help make sure “Aly” never succeeds in infiltrating any water protector movements.

For more insight into dirty disruption tactics read the section “Social Engagement Plan” of this article from The Intercept:…/leaked-documents-reveal-securit…/

And this follow-up article under the section “Use as many locals as we can”:…/dapl-security-firm-tigerswan-re…/

Judge Orders Halt To Horizontal Drilling For Mariner East 2 Pipeline

from Unicorn Riot

Harrisburg, PA – On Tuesday, July 25, a judge on Pennsylvania’s Environmental Hearing Board ordered a temporary stop to all horizontal drilling operations underway to construct the Mariner East 2 pipeline. The ruling against Sunoco Logistics (which recently merged with Energy Transfer Partners) was issued as part of an ongoing lawsuit by Clean Air Council and other environmental groups. It requires the pipeline company to cease all horizontal drilling activities, but permits other construction activities, including non-horizontal drilling, to continue.

One day earlier, on July 24, a Public Utilities Commission judge had also ruled to grant an emergency order sought by West Goshen Township to “cease and desist all current construction” in their area. West Goshen alleges Sunoco violated the terms of a Settlement Agreement made with the township in 2015 by building on township property without permission, ignoring local regulations, and parking in front of the local fire department’s driveway.

Pipeline contractors employed by Sunoco Logistics have had a series of “inadvertent returns (drilling slurry spills into groundwater) along the pipeline route, including but not limited to; spills in Chester County, Blair County, Delaware County, Westmoreland County, Washington County, Allegheny County, Indiana County, and Huntingdon County.

According to Clean Air Council, court filings made last week “disclosed 61 drilling fluid spills and water contamination in multiple Pennsylvania regions.”

Earlier this month, we visited neighborhoods in Chester County where drilling leaks in West Whiteland Township had ruined local sources of drinking water.

The $2.5 billion dollar pipeline would carry natural gas liquids such as propane, ethane, and butane from frack fields in Scio, Ohio, across West Virginia and Pennsylvania to export terminals at Marcus Hook, near Philadelphia, where they would be shipped across the sea for use by the European plastics industry.

In Huntingdon, in central Pennsylvania, tree-sits at Camp White Pine have blocked the Mariner East 2 right-of-way for many months. Sunoco work crews began preemptively clearing trees on the Gerhart family’s property in 2015, bringing sheriffs’ deputies who arrested several people. Many trees of a conserved forest plot were cut down but some trees were occupied, and remain to this day as part of a tree-sit village. Sunoco is active in areas near Camp White Pine, but despite a recent court injunction giving police more authority to make arrests on the family’s private property, they have not yet tried to retake their eminent domain easement on the Gerhart’s land.


The order to halt horizontal directional drilling lasts until the next Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board hearing on August 7. Sunoco reportedly expects to be able to resume drilling after the hearing, promising to “demonstrate that we have expended every effort to meet the strict conditions of our environmental permits.

The lawsuit, filed in 2015 by Clean Air Council, Mountain Watershed Association, Inc., and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network seeks to stop Mariner East 2 entirely, asserts that permits from the Department of Environmental Protection “failed to adequately address the severe negative impacts of the pipeline project on Pennsylvania’s streams, wetlands and forests.” The case heads to trial at Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court later this year.

Sunoco Faces Backlash After Repeated Pipeline Drilling Spills

from Unicorn Riot

West Whiteland Township, PA – Construction of the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline faces several new obstacles as local authorities and the public respond to a series of drilling accidents.

Sunoco/Energy Transfer Partners recently voluntarily stopped construction in certain areas where horizontal directional drilling for the pipeline had contaminated local water sources. After a meeting with township officials on Friday, July 14, the company announced that it was halting drilling operations in Chester County “indefinitely.” The horizontal directional drill (HDD) has been withdrawn from the site at Whiteland West Apartments where it had been active until last week, and has been sitting unused in the parking lot at St Peter and Paul Catholic Church and School.

It is unclear how long drilling in the area will stop, and if construction activities other than drilling are still taking place. Sunoco Logistics reportedly intends to blame Union Pipeline contractors, who had been operating the drill in Chester County, and replace them with workers from Michels Corporation, a pipeline contractor known for its work on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.

Sunoco admitted puncturing an aquifer in Exton while drilling on June 22, and has offered bottled water and hotel vouchers to over a dozen residents whose water supply either disappeared or was tainted. The incident has been described as an “inadvertent return” – an accidental process in which a chemical slurry of underground drilling lubricants ends up flowing back towards the surface, contaminating any local waterways in its path.

Contaminated water from a tainted well in West Whiteland Township

Sunoco has paid to attach several homes to the public water system after their private wells were tainted with drilling slurry containing chemicals. However, problems with the aquifer feeding the public water system have also been reported since drilling began last month. Before residents started reporting contaminated water, the company had ignored requirements to notify downstream residents 72 hours before starting to drill.

Permitting paperwork from February of this year shows both Sunoco and Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection were aware that drilling was likely to damage the local aquifer. Despite this knowledge, Sunoco was given regulators’ blessing to drill anyway.

Earlier this month we heard from affected residents in Chester County about how pipeline drilling accidents are impacting their neighborhoods and their lives:


Water contamination from drilling has also been reported in other counties along the route of Mariner East 2. Blair County reported an ‘inadvertent return’ earlier this month. On Monday, July 17, another drilling spill was reported at a Mariner East 2 HDD site in Middletown, PA, in Delaware County:

On Monday July 17th, Middletown Township reported to residents that the township had been made aware of a bentonite spill at Sunoco’s HDD drilling site behind Tunbridge apartments. Middletown Township reported that they had been notified around 4:30pm, and that PADEP had also been notified and was responding to the event. It is reported that the spill reached Chester Creek. – Middletown Coalition for Community Safety

On Tuesday July 18, a Middletown resident posted a video of the drilling spill site to Facebook and noted how contractors’ efforts to contain the spill seemed inadequate.

Sunoco had previously spilled drilling slurry into Chester Creek in Delaware County earlier this year while drilling in Brookhaven on May 10. The Middletown Coalition for Community Safety is demanding that Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) revoke “prematurely issued water obstruction and encroachment permits” for Mariner East 2 as well as calling for a moratorium on all pipeline construction. State Senator Andy Dinniman, of West Whiteland Township, also alleges that Sunoco used loopholes in DEP regulations to ignore potential impacts private wells when applying for permits.

Additionally, Sunoco is facing legal action from the Chester County township of West Goshen, which seeks an injunction to immediately and indefinitely halt construction on Mariner East 2. West Goshen Township supervisors, who voted unanimously to petition Pennsylvania’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for an emergency order, allege that Sunoco began pipeline construction at an unapproved location without notifying them or asking for their permission. Township officials also say Sunoco pipeline crews ignored local construction and safety regulations, and have repeatedly blocked the driveway to the local fire department with their vehicles.

Several hundred miles west in the Susquehanna Valley in central Pennsylvania, tree-sits at Camp White Pine still block Mariner East 2’s route through Huntingdon County. The property is owned by the Gerhart family, who have refused to allow pipeline work crews onto their property despite repeated rulings against them by local courts on behalf on Sunoco. Huntingdon County judge Georce Zanic recently approved an injunction sought by Sunoco to allow police to arrest the Gerharts (and/or their supporters) on their own property at the pipeline company’s request.

One of several tree-sit pods at Camp White Pine, on the route of Mariner East 2 in Huntingdon, PA

With drilling paused in Chester County, the blockades at Camp White Pine still in place, and neighborhoods along the route self-organizing to respond to pipeline safety issues, hundreds of miles of Mariner East 2 are still incomplete. Nonetheless, Sunoco Logistics (‘an Energy Transfer company’) claims the pipeline will be operational sometime this year. The line would carry liquified gases such as ethane, butane, and propane from frack fields in Scio, Ohio across Pennsylvania to export terminals at Marcus Hook, where it would then be shipped across the Atlantic to a plastics company in Scotland.

Stay tuned to Unicorn Riot for more updates as we continue to report on this unfolding story.