Learning from Lancaster

Listening to the folks in Pennsylvania along the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline now under construction by Williams will teach us a lot about the about false promises and empty assurances made by pipeline companies. Construction has been a destructive, illness-inducing, constantly noisy nightmare. Excerpts from three Lancaster Online articles follow.

12-19-17 Lancaster Online. ‘It’s just constant’: Atlantic Sunrise pipeline company ordered to fix noise, lighting problems in Manor Twp. “Since Nov. 28, residents of about 10 homes near Safe Harbor have had an unwelcome front-row seat to a six-day-a-week, all-night unusual work zone: near-constant drilling under the Conestoga River as part of the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline. Drilling on a lesser scale began in early October. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told LNP on Monday that after resident complaints, a FERC compliance monitor in the last few days confirmed there are indeed noise and lighting problems. The pipeline builder has been ordered to “look into ways to mitigate the situation so the public will not be inconvenienced,” said Tamara Young-Allen, a FERC spokeswoman. Seventy decibels is akin to the sound of a vacuum cleaner. ‘We’re sorry for the inconvenience.’ …. As a result of residents’ complaints, Williams told FERC last week in its weekly summary of pipeline construction that it was investigating new ways to address noise levels at the site, including paying homeowners for the disturbances and offering to relocate them until the drilling is finished. The company said it had installed a sound wall and baffles on equipment on Oct. 24. Two noise readings by the company taken on Dec. 9 were below the 55-decibel action reading, but one from the front door of a home on Witmer Road was 70.2 decibels. …. Pans on the kitchen wall tap each other and rattle from vibrations given off by the drilling under the earth…. All the residents interviewed complained that no one ever approached them to inform them of the impending drilling or what to expect. ‘No one has ever come over here to say here’s what we’re doing. There’s no transparency….’ Residents said they have complained to Williams, Manor Township officials, FERC and a state legislator, but without noticeable results. Ryan Strohecker, Manor Township manager, said he checked the township noise ordinance and found that utilities are exempt. He said jurisdiction with the drilling lies with FERC and the pipeline builder.”

12-30-17 Lancaster Online. Pipeline’s been a sham from the beginning. “My blood is boiling after reading Bad vibrations in the Dec. 19 issue. The article details the noise problems for some residents of Manor Township caused by nonstop drilling under the Conestoga River for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ordered the pipeline builder to ‘look into ways to mitigate the situation.’ That’s fantastic. It is kind of like of ordering me to look into buying a Ferrari. It’s just not going to happen.  FERC has the same problem that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does. It is charged with regulating an industry while simultaneously promoting it. I have an idea for FERC: Do your job, and regulate this travesty. Order Williams to stop construction at night so these people can get some sleep.  I honestly don’t expect Williams or FERC to do anything. The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline has been a sham from the beginning. We were told the natural gas would not be exported — it is all being exported. We were told the project would create high-paid, local jobs — it hasn’t. All the license plates on workers’ vehicles that I have seen are from out of state. We were told the project is about American energy independence — it’s not. It is all about who will pay the most for natural gas.  Fifty years from now, when the natural gas runs out, residents in the Marcellus Shale are left with toxic groundwater and the pipeline is a useless hulk rotting underground, you can be sure none of the companies responsible for it will still be around. They will take their money and run. And the public that is left to deal with this mess? No one will care about them. They got fracked in more ways than one.”

12-16-17 The Morning Call.  What happens when a pipeline is built in your backyard. “The caravan of noise and mayhem arrived a few days before Thanksgiving — several colossal excavators, a backhoe, a bunch of pickup trucks and an otherworldly saw that can slice through a huge tree like a knife through butter. It was ‘Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site,’ a book I read to my grandkids, sprung to life, writ large. …. It’s all very legal, of course, when the pipeline arsenal rolls in on the magic carpet of eminent domain, signed, sealed and delivered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. That fact doesn’t make it easier when survey flags are planted on your property like little grave markers, orange construction fencing goes up like symbolic barbed wire, and the awful symphony from the earth-ripping machines plays on, even in your dreams.”