In August, representative Leanne Krueger-Braneky got fake emails that purported to be from her constituents, in support of the Dragonpipe (the Mariner East 2 pipeline). Many of those constituents told her they hadn’t sent them. Krueger-Braneky has been sympathetic to the position of pipeline opponents and concerned about the risks to her constituents, and she asked the state Attorney General to investigate the source of the fake emails. Nothing has come of that request, as far as I know.
But StateImpact Pennsylvania did an article on the emails, and one interesting tidbit that came out of that was the fact that the text of the fake emails was identical to the suggested email text appearing on the “Take Action” section of the Pennsylvania Energy Industry Association (PEIA) website. That text has since been taken down. The PEIA is an industry association that supports pipelines (primarily the Dragonpipe).
Now, the PEIA is involved in disseminating what appears to be fake news. Their blog has a post about a document from the website of a Philadelphia anarchist group known as the “Philly Anti-Capitalist” group, supposedly written by someone who had carried out sabotage to pipeline equipment near Media, PA.
There is, however, no indication that the claimed sabotage ever took place. It has not been reported in the local papers. On the Philly Anti-Capitalist website, the document is identified only as a “submission”.
It seems very likely that someone working for Sunoco/ETP was the “submitter”, and then made sure the story of the sabotage appeared in the PEIA blog. Their intent was surely to damage the reputation of pipeline opponents. If so, this would not be the first time Sunoco/ETP had resorted to such tactics. They clearly did it with the Bayou Bridge pipeline opponents (details here) and with the Dakota Access Pipeline opponents (details here).
Of course the PEIA’s website carries pro-pipeline information. That’s what they created it to do. But do they know they’re being used by Sunoco/ETP’s fake news operation? The organizations that are members of the PEIA (mostly chambers of commerce and construction-trade unions) need to step in and make PEIA clean up its act—or withdraw from membership.
If you are connected with one of the organizations listed below, bring this shoddy publishing work to their attention. Ask them if they want to be associated with the PEIA, which is acting as the channel for Sunoco/ETP’s fake news.
PEIA members include the following chambers of commerce:
Beaver County Chamber of Commerce, Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce, Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership, Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, JARI, Mon Valley Progress Council, Clearly Ahead Development, Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC.
The following unions are PEIA members:
Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 542, LiUNA, Operating Engineers Local 66.
Industry associations that are PEIA members:
Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association, Manufacturers’ Association of South Central Pennsylvania, Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay.
Other PEIA member organizations:
Keystone Elk Country Alliance, Pennsylvania State Grange, Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association