Frackville Prison’s Systemic Water Crisis

from The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons

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

by Bryant Arroyo / FightToxicPrisons.org

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 PrisonRadio.org. Additional sources for this article came from State Impact (A reporting project of  NPR member stations) and the Washington Post.

Action Against Mariner East 2 Pipeline

Submission

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.]

INFILTRATOR ALERT at Camp White Pine

from Facebook

PLEASE SHARE, INFILTRATOR ALERT

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: https://theintercept.com/…/leaked-documents-reveal-securit…/

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


PA Alt-Knights Provided Security for Holocaust Denier and Fascist Augustus Invictus at Unite the Right

from Philly Antifa

PA Alt-Knights At Unite the Right providing security for Augustus Invictus (center with tie)
PA Alt Knights 2nd in Command Jeff Thomas discussing providing security for eugenics promoting, holocaust denying, fascist politician Augustus Invictus. Apparently participating in a Nazi rally that ended in a murder was “a pleasure.”

As our readers are no doubt aware, this “Unite the Right Rally” was a disaster for the Alt-Right and led to the death of Anti-Racist demonstrator Heather Heyer as well as multiple hate crimes and assaults by Neo-Nazi and Far Right rally participants. In the fallout, many of the rallies participants and organizers have turned on each other and/or distanced themselves from the Alt-Right.

One group that seems to have very few regrets is the PA Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (FOAK). Their members were observed by Anti-Fascists on the ground in Charlottesville, and confirmed through social media, providing security for Augustus Invictus (real name Austin Gillespie), Florida Senate Candidate,  and total fucking cretin. Invictus was formerly a member of the Libertarian party, but even a party comprised almost entirely of Fedoras could not stomach Invictus’ Holocaust denial, advocacy of Eugenics, use of Fascist and White Nationalist talking points and imagery, and participation in animal sacrifice.  This led to several conflicts within the party that ended with Invictus switching his affiliation to The GOP.

Most of these “Kekistanis” were spotted a few months ago trolling the Refuse Fascism rally at Dilworth Plaza.  While these jerkoffs might seem like harmless fools, the murder of Heather Heyer goes to show just how dangerous and unstable the pathetic types attracted to the Alt-Right can be, and those that protect and enable them will not be spared their share of the blame.

We’re sure that the FOAK will describe this as “guilt by association,” a legal term appropriated by Nazi sympathizers to deflect and distract from criticisms.  Guilt by association is supposed to be in reference to criminal charge having no evidence other than “this guy knew that guy.” It’s not intended to excuse actual behavior, like attending rallies or defending Fascists, nor to insulate someone from the social consequences of doing so. Why exactly shouldn’t someone feel guilty or be judged by others for rallying and defending Neo-Nazis and Klansmen? That’s rhetorical, FOAK.

Spotted at the Unite the Right Rally:

Ellsworth George Lewis III

Ellsworth George Lewis III,, head of PA Alt-Knights, at Unite the Right
Ellsworth George Lewis III at Trump’s Inauguration

Despite claiming on social media that he would not be attending at one point, Ellsworth George Lewis was indeed present at UTR.

In a video posted by Youtube user “Khaos Kekmander Khrone” Ellsworth can be seen milling around nervously in a Bloodsport T-shirt. I guess because he’s a tough underground martial artist (lol)?

Ellsworth works at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park, PA. Taylor (part of the Crozer Keystone Health System) continues to employ Ellsworth despite his continued association with White Nationalist, Far Right and Neo-Nazi individuals and groups.  Contact their public relations department (link above) and let them know how the public feels about that decision.  He lives in Prospect Park, PA on Lincoln Ave.

Jeff Thomas

Jeff Thomas at Unite the Right

Present with Ellsworth was his “second in command” Jeff Thomas.

Jeff Thomas

Jeff Thomas, was last seen in Philly repeating “I’m not a nazi” over and over while hanging with “Illegal Aryan” and American Vanguard member Daniel Reardon, who was also in Charlottesville.

Apparently hanging with Nazis suited Jeff Thomas fine because he was up to his neck in them at UTR.

In this video (at around 16 min) you can see he even has a brief moment of clarity and weakly comments that the guy carrying a swastika flag is “making them look bad.” No shit, Jeff. Racism and Fascism is a bad look.

Despite this comment, Jeff seemed to have no desire to exercise his first amendment rights to take a vocal stand against Nazism while surrounded by Nazis. How strange, since they love free debate and expression. Was he fearing for his safety should he object to open Nazism being the face of the rally he was attending?  Certainly his associates are not violent individuals like the “evil Antifa” he’s so scared of, so one can only assume his only issue with Nazis was that they were making him “look bad,” and it wasn’t worth it to him to argue.

So this guy will plan and recruit to troll Communists, but can’t be bothered to loudly state opposition to Nazism when it’s right in front of him, despite his claims that he views them both as “collectivism.” Cowardliness, thy name is Jeff Thomas.

After UTR, Thomas took to social media for damage control, again denying any wrongdoing and reaffirming his belief that the greatest fight he could be undertaking at this historical moment is to protect the Free Speech rights of Neo-Nazis.

In a rather hilarious thread on his FB page, Thomas makes the following claim:

What came out in the thread was ample evidence of his ties and sympathies for Nazism/Racism/Bigotry.

He refuses to answer this person’s question outright:

Good question, Jeff

He then goes on to claim that Augustus Invictus is a “great friend” who is “not afraid to debate”

Invictus is then tagged in on the thread by a friend of Thomas’ and shows off his excellent debating skills when one of the commentators literally quotes his own Holocaust denial.

See, at this point in a conversation where someone is accusing you of denying the Holocaust most people would probably just affirm that the Holocaust happened. But Austin Gillespie is too great a debater for such an easy route. Instead, he invokes the supreme debate strategy of “people who think different things than me, their opinions don’t matter.”

But if a regular old racist, sexist, holocaust-denying capitalist isn’t proof positive enough, leave it to New Jersey Neo- Nazi Frank Marlowe (check out the public content for plenty of evidence of Marlow’s nazi views) to bomb into the thread to recommend to Jeff that he just lean into it and become a Fascist:

But how do we even know Marlow is a Fasc-

Nvm

It really is a hilarious thread we recommend reading for as long as he keeps it public.  Just keep in mind Thomas is friends with many far right and White Nationalist figures who may be monitoring the thread so use good security should you decide to comment.

Thomas launches the same old “who, me?” routine while well-meaning friends try and talk sense into him about what it means to participate in a movement regardless of your alleged actual principles.  We get it Jeff: you don’t think people should have to share. What we don’t understand is why you think that is a greater principle than human equality or freedom.

Seems as though Thomas is too much of a narcissist to really self-examine his role in helping create the circumstances in which Heather Heyer died. Even if he did nothing else, had attended no rallies earlier, had not helped organize and recruit for FOAK, insulated Nazis like Daniel Reardon from Anti-Fascists, etc. and ONLY provided security for Invictus, consider this Jeff: what if the speakers had been unable to get security and been forced to cancel UTR before it began? Heather Heyer would be alive today.

Movements are the sum of individuals. Everyone that participates, whoever minor, shares some portion of the credit/blame. Throwing up your hands, pointing fingers, or hiding behind the constitution will not wash the blood off your hands.

Deborah Nemeth

Deb Nemeth at Unite the Right

Another “not Nazi” attending the largest Nazi rally in the U.S. on decades was Deborah Nemeth.

Nemeth arrived with the Kekistanis but was seperated and can be seen in this picture leaving Emancipation Park in between the Traditionalist Worker’s Party and Hammerskins contingents, both open Neo-Nazi groups, and shortly before the group of Klansmen that included Richard Preston, who was arrested for firing a gun towards protesters.

Nemeth has shown no remorse or signs of leaving the movement since UTR. She’s all over the thread on Jeff Thomas’ page mentioned above “liking” all the right wing and apologist posts and arguing with anyone expressing disgust at their involvement in the largest Neo-Nazi rally in this country in decades.

Deborah Nemeth lives in center city. She works as a paralegal and business manager for Piscitello Law as well as Project Manager for Diamond Contractors.

We would like to encourage our readers to contact Nemeth’s employers and let them know that their employee is a willing participant in White Nationalist and Neo-Nazi movements and to ask them to fire her immediately.

Justin and Colin Emerle

Justin Emerle at Unite the Right
Colin Emerle at UTR
Justin Emerle trying to blend into the Refuse Fascism rally but after Antifa started filming him he bounced.

Justin Emerle, aka “Hipster Douche Fascist” briefly attempted to infiltrate the Refuse Fascism crowd a few months back at their rally but dipped out as soon as Antifa began shadowing him around Dilworth. At the time he claimed to be “wasn’t with them” (meaning the Alt-Knights) and was just “checking things out.”

The Emerle brothers sometimes perform as the band Echo Orbiter in the Philly area, though have been on various periods of inactivity the past few years.

Justin and Colin Emerle in an older pic. Note the matching skull tattoo on Justin’s left wrist. Also the fact that these guys are aging hipster douchebags.
Emerele and Lewis discussing Charlottesville. Guess Lewis decided to go after all.

Justin Emerele is even less remorseful than Jeff Thomas, preferring to argue online about semantics or his being offended at being called racist than address the fact that he was rallying with Nazis and Klan, which btw is a pretty fucking racist thing to do.  He is repping Augustus Invictus’ website The Revolutionary Conservative as his FB profile photo.

Eh… no thanks.

Justin Emerle is listed as living on New Street in Westville, NJ.

This is our first time spotting Colin at a far right event, but that’s likely because we didn’t know to look for them, or they were hiding out, possibly as a scout.

This Nazi Kid

Nazi kid at UTR

This Nazi Kid was also trolling at the Refuse Fascism rally.   Despite adamantly pointing out that he “wasn’t white” (his mother, who appeared to be South Asian, was waiting for him nearby) this little guy claimed to support the Traditionalist Worker’s Party and claimed “Hitler did nothing wrong.”

Despite his not-so-aryan heritage, This Nazi Kid was welcomed into the Neo-Nazi contingent of UTR, marching along in a white polo shirt along with Vanguard America, the Neo-Nazi group that the murderer of Heather Heyer was also marching with.

Commando Barbie Alt-Knight

This guy was with the PA Alt-Knights contingent and seemingly very eager to fight Antifa from behind police barricades but demurred from actually backing any of it up. Anyone with information regarding this winner or any of the scum who went to UTR should send it our way.

Let’s pretend for a second we believe that PA FOAK really believe that they are not racists or fascists.  Excuse the unappetizing metaphor, but essentially what Ellsworth Lewis, Jeff Thomas and the rest of PA FOAK are doing is smearing shit on themselves, and then when someone complains about the smell, saying “But we don’t have any body odor! It’s not US, it’s the SHIT that smells!”

It’s not any less disgusting and doesn’t mean you’re entitled to keep your jobs, friends, be served by local businesses, or be free of people pointing out that you smell like shit. Free association cuts both ways you fake-ass “libertarians.”

We have every intention to hold PA FOAK and every other group/individual who attended UTR on the Fascist side accountable.

Some more pics of the PA FOAK crew at UTR:

 

  

 

Love and Solidarity to all Anti-Racists injured in Charlottesville, the family and friends of Heather Heyer, and all those taking a stand against the Fascists and their allies. Rage to our enemies.

Eternal War on the Hitler Youth,

Steven Wiegand Claims to be Shutting Down Micetrap Records!

from Philly Antifa

We win, fucker.

Neo-Nazi record label and distro house Micetrap Records is closing up shop, according to it’s owner.

For over 20 years, Micetrap Records has been distributing Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, Neo-Confederate and other Fascist music, writings and clothing using a P.O. box in Maple Shade, N.J..

Micetrap was (to the best of our knowledge) a one-man operation for it’s entire run.  Stephen Wiegand of Cherry Hill, NJ would distribute bands such as Skrewdriver and Bound for Glory as well as old issues of National Vanguard magazines and writings by Nazi Terrorist David Lane. Basically all manner of Fascist paraphernalia.

Despite the immeasurable damage done by Weigand over the years, he flew under the radar for much of his career due to his insistence that he was no ideologically motivated, his willingness to make ridiculous legal threats when he was exposed and other more pressing concerns demanding the time and energy of Anti-Racists and Anti-Fascists in the area.

This changed a few years ago with Antifa Philadelphia exposed Wiegand’s home address and description of his cars and posted them on our site.  This eventually led to Weigand’s lawyers threatening WordPress and them caving into pressure and shutting down our old blog.  We rebounded nicely, though, launching on noblogs and then eventually our own current site and keeping the Wiegand info up the entire time.

So in the wake of Charlottesville, with a huge upsurge in Anti-Fascist sentiment among people in the U.S., and his info already being made public by Antifa, and Philly Inquirer reporters showing up at his doorstep, Wiegand (allegedly) decided to call it quits.

From a statement on the Micetrap site:


 

“8/20/2017 – Micetrap Distribution will be soon closing down.

After many years of struggling to figure out the best way to shut down this business, it is with a very heavy heart that I have decided that the time has now come for Micetrap Distribution LLC. to close.

I am proud to say that I built this business from practically nothing and formed a company that I believed stood for everything our 1st Amendment was established for. But in doing this, I have endured personal issues and sacrifices that very few would have been strong enough to endure. But, I can no longer continue on with the passion and enthusiasm that made the business the success that it became. I have always been attacked from all sides of the spectrum and this is not a retreat or surrender, instead it is my attempt at finding my own self peace again. When my business is gone, the violence will still continue between the left and the right, but I will know in my heart that I am not associated with it in any way. I am going out on my own terms while sales are increasing at a rapid pace, simply to pursue a happier, less stressful life that also spares my friends and the neighborhood I love.

After the recent issues in Charlottesville, Virginia, it has forced me to take a long, deep look into myself. And after speaking with friends and neighbors, I can no longer be aligned with the violence (from all sides) that I have always been against.

I will continue processing all orders as I am going through the closing down process. No customers need to worry, if you are able to place an order, it will be completed. But once the shutting down process is complete, I will be completely taking down all websites and domains. I have already removed all social media pages and the streaming radio website. I don’t have any idea where the inventory will go or what will happen with the countless domain names, but over the 20 years, I feel I have done everything possible to fight for the freedom of speech that means everything to me. But now it’s time for me to focus on my own spiritual peace.

I pray that this country I love with all of my heart can heal it’s divides.”


 

It is worth noting the Wiegand is still taking orders of his repulsive merchandise, despite claiming to have had some vague change of heart. Wiegand also parrots the ridiculous assertions by Donald Trump that Neo-Nazi demonstrators and Anti-Racists in Charlottesville were somehow morally equivalent.

We have no intention of removing Wiegand’s information from our site as it stands. Wiegand is running or involved in running several “Anti-Antifa” blogs and SM accounts that have engaged in doxxing of real or presumed Antifa and has not engaged in any of the behaviors we would classify as evidence of a legitimate change of heart. Stephen Wiegand has been nothing if not duplicitous for the entirety that he’s been around WP scenes.  There is no guarantee that this is a legitimate shutdown or that it will last.

For the moment though, we celebrate what seems like a victory in one of our longest running campaigns and recommit ourselves to go harder to ensure that no one can operate a business like Micetrap for 20 years with nearly no consequences and total anonymity.

Eternal War on the Hitler Youth and their Shitty Record Salesmen…

Tell Taylor Hospital to Fire PA Alt-Knights Leader Ellsworth George Lewis III

From Philly Antifa

Ellsworth George Lewis III

We’ve written about Ellsworth George Lewis on the site before, but we’ve learned he was recently appointed as the leader of the Pennsylvania Alt-Knights.

In response, Anti-Fascists around the state and region are launching a push to get Lewis fired from his job at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park, PA.

Take a few minutes and call the hospital at (610) 595-6000 and let them know what you think about them employing racist misogynists like Ellsworth George Lewis.

Here’s a good example of what might want to say when you call.

Hello,

You are currently employing  Ellsworth George Lewis III, who was recently appointed to be the Pennsylvania Commander and State Point of Contact of the Pennsylvania Alt-Knights.  Alt-Knights are a group of alt-right fighting squads and has been featured in Hate Watch by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

Lewis has been in the news several times in the last few months for his involvement with the “Kekistani Movement,” which has involved Lewis carrying a modified version of a Nazi battle flag around the country and participating in various far right and fascist rallies while looking for confrontation with protesters.  The “Kek” flag also has added elements from 3%er militia groups and Ku Klax Klan imagery.  Lewis intends to be in Charlottesville this coming weekend to participate in the “Unite the Right” rally being organized by Neo-Nazi and other far right groups including the National Socialist Movement and American Vanguard. Lewis’ activities should be cause of grave concern for you and represent a threat to your staff and patients, and do to his recent move to a leadership position within the Alt-Knights I would like to see him terminated immediately.

 

 

Lewis announcing his leadership of Alt-Knights

 

 

Ellsworth George Lewis III with Kek Flag at Inauguration
Ellsworth (left) with other PA Alt Knights demonstrating against an Anti-Trump rally in Philadelphia. Lewis is speaking with Daniel Reardon, aka “Illegal Aryan,” the Neo-Nazi who has been posting vile racist flyers in West Philly.

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.

[Video]

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:

 [Video]

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.

Drilling for Mariner East 2 Pipeline Contaminates Drinking Water

from Unicorn Riot

West Whiteland Township, PA – Residents along the construction route of Sunoco/Energy Transfer Partners’ Mariner East 2 pipeline are reporting contamination in their water after pipeline drilling accidents led to a chemical slurry compromising a well, which then tainted another well and several aquifers.

Over the last few weeks, neighborhoods in Chester County west of Philadelphia began experiencing stomach aches, and noticed their water was sometimes brown in color, contained sediment and bacteria, and smelled of chlorine.

When people started to notice problems with their water, neighbors connected through the Uwchlan Safety Coalition, a local community organization addressing ongoing health and safety issues posed by Mariner East 2. Sunoco offered many affected residents hotel vouchers and compensation for meals, and provided pallets of bottled water, while avoiding taking direct responsibility for the contamination. (Sunoco recently merged with Energy Transfer Partners, known for building the Dakota Access Pipeline.)

Contaminated water from a tainted well in West Whiteland Township

Continued drilling operations threaten to entirely destroy the safety of area wells, which would force those relying on well water to hook up to the public water system. While Sunoco has offered various forms of compensation for issues with private wells, those on the local public water system have also been reporting stomachaches after drinking water that smelled like chlorine.

Correspondence between Sunoco Logistics and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) shows that both Sunoco and DEP officials knew that drilling in certain geological formations in the Exton area could damage the local water table.

Before DEP eventually approved the permit under political pressure, permitting paperwork noted,

Karst area near Exton and the East Whiteland compressor branch present additional risks of IRs [inadvertent returns] during HDD…There are carbonate rocks, karst surface depressions; and identification of other public water supplies (groundwater or surface water) within one mile… Groundwater impacts from an inadvertent return cannot be directly visually observed from the surface. Any loss of circulation is the only indicator of drilling fluid migrating out of the borehole into the groundwater.

Sunoco representatives downplayed the risks from the drilling slurry (a mixture of chemicals and mud) in conversations with affected residents, comparing the bentonite clay to cat litter or the foundation used in makeup. Earlier this year, Energy Transfer Partners spilled two million gallons of drilling liquids into Ohio wetlands while constructing the Rover Pipeline, leading to a $430,000 fine and the temporary suspension of their horizontal directional drilling operations.

In West Whiteland, horizontal direction drill (HDD) operations were paused for a few days but resumed again on Saturday, July 8, despite objections by local lawmakers. Drilling is taking place on the grounds of the Whiteland West Apartments, a development with 377 housing units.

Contractors employed by Sunoco/Energy Transfer Partners are currently operating an HDD hidden from public view using poles on sheets and wooden boards.

An open air waste pit for drilling waste is set up adjacent to the drill at the Whiteland West Apartments, a stone’s throw from some resident’s balconies.

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

On July 3, a Uwchlan Township resident posted a picture showing how a new pipeline work site had taken up much of the playground area at her child’s daycare.

Photo challenge day #3 I don’t use Instagram but I downloaded it just to post this picture for our officials to see what is happening. I don’t have an easement on my house BUT this is the daycare my child goes to. Their beautiful green outdoor play space that once had tall trees to shade them is now about 3 feet away from a fence/wall where the pipeline is being built right on the other side!!! The trees are taken down and the dust and debris that are flying around can’t be good for them. Then when it’s all done if there should be a leak, I can’t even imagine that outcome! This is what people are living with. How can those in power allow corporations to do this? #pipeline #pipelinesafety #uwchlantwppa #uwchlanpa #chestercounty #chesco #pennsylvania #makeadifference #photooftheday #marinereast2 #change #trending #natgas #photoofthedaychallenge #frommypointofview #lionville #community #communityaction #6abcaction #cbsphilly Governor Tom Wolf, Senator Pat Toomey, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Congressman Ryan Costello, PA State Rep. Becky Corbin, Commissioner Kathi Cozzone, John C. Rafferty, Jr. 6abc Action News, NBC10 Philadelphia, The Daily Local News, Philadelphia Inquirer, CBS Philly

A post shared by Tay Thieu (@tthieu33) on Jul 3, 2017 at 4:33pm PDT

Starting at frack fields in Scio, eastern Ohio, Mariner East 2 will carry highly explosive natural gas liquids such as propane, butane, and ethane across Pennsylvania to export terminals at Marcus Hook near Philadelphia.

These gases could be easily ignited by everyday appliances in the event of a leak. Many local schools, homes, and an assisted living facility are all well within the blast radius should leaked gases explode.

Mariner East 2 construction outside an elderly assisted living facility in Exton, PA

Glenwood Elementary in Media, PA has been conducting emergency evacuation drills with students to prepare for a potential pipeline leak explosion.

Quest Consultants, an independent firm hired by Middletown Township to evaluate the risks from a potential pipeline explosion, ran several detailed statistical simulations of potential leak scenarios. An analysis of data from previous spills estimates “that a leak will occur along the shared route once every 2.5 months.

On April 1, the Mariner East 1 pipeline, which Mariner East 2 will run parallel to, leaked 20 barrels of propane, ethane and butane in Berks County, PA.  An explosion from a leaking natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania last year set fire to forty acres of land, and left a 26-year old father covered in severe burns. Sunoco has one of the worst pipeline safety records of any company in the business.

The fracking and pipeline industries in Pennsylvania, assisted by Governor Tom Wolfe’s task force to accelerate pipeline construction, have been aggressively expanding new infrastructure throughout Chester County and many other areas of Pennsylvania.

Affected residents living in and along the path of Mariner East 2 across the state have been raising objections and resisting in various ways. Sunoco claims the natural gas liquids pipeline will be in operation this year; hundreds of miles of the route are still incomplete as of this writing.

Military intelligence contractor Tigerswan, which worked for Energy Transfer Partners behind the scenes to disrupt and discredit the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline, is monitoring opposition to Mariner East 2 in Pennsylvania. A consulting firm called Bravo Group boasts on its website about its contract for Sunoco Logistics to “neutralize opposition” to Mariner East 2 – a vague mission which presumably includes keeping tabs on everyone from blockaders at Camp White Pine to the various neighborhood-based Safety Coalitions formed in townships along the pipeline route.

J20 to G20 We Are Ungovernable

from Facebook

As we put our bodies in the way of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline, we look to the inspiration of those resisting the capitalist order in the face of brutal state violence.

211 people are each facing up to 75 years in prison for disrupting the inauguration of our fascist president and July 20th marks the beginning of a week of solidarity for the J20 defendants. Tens of thousands took to the streets of #Hamburg, #Germany this past week to block the #G20 and the smooth functioning of the global ruling class.

We did a banner drop from our tree sit in the path of the ME2 Pipeline in solidarity with our comrades. From the streets of Hamburg to the streets of DC, the rallying cry of the people is screaming “Shut It Down!”

Sign On to Statement of #Solidarity of #J20 Defendants & Follow: Defend J20 Resistance is a platform to support and amplify the voices of those who are working together to fight this case. http://defendj20resistance.org/