no construction permitted 3-19-20

On March 19, Governor Wolf took the dramatic step of ordering all “non-life-sustaining” businesses to stop operations by 8 p.m., in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Pennsylvania. The order was accompanied by a long document listing which categories of business would and would not be considered “life-sustaining”. A copy of that list is here.

Click to access life-sustaining-businesses-3-19-20.pdf

On the face of it, this means that construction work on the Dragonpipe (Mariner East pipeline system) must stop. On the other hand, material can continue to flow through the operational parts of the system. Specifically: oil and gas extraction can continue, and public utilities can continue to operate, but no construction of any kind is permitted.

It remains to be seen if Sunoco’s lawyers will try to find a way to weasel out of this restriction. But assuming they can’t, work on the pipeline will be suspended indefinitely starting this weekend.

Update: The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Sunoco will be allowed to continue construction. But it’s not clear whether this is in response to the earlier order halting “non-essential” businesses, or the new one halting “non-life-sustaining” ones. It seems likely that it applies to the earlier order only, in which case the construction will be shut down.