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.
Since 8:00 am today, March 20, 2020, heavy equipment has been shaking and vibrating our house. We live in Thornbury Township, where ME work goes onward. Despite the very clear order from the G Wolf.
Please call the State Police. The Governor’s announcement was very specific about this:
“The governor has directed the following state agencies and local officials to enforce the closure orders to the full extent of the law:
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
Department of Health
Department of Agriculture
Pennsylvania State Police
Local officials, using their resources to enforce closure orders within their jurisdictions”
The Governor’s list of prohibited activities includes every type of construction. The State Police should be out there to shut them down.
Thank you for your ongoing coverage! Truly Homeric efforts on your part.
Update to my prior comment:
We just spoke with Jeff Seagraves, Thournbury Township Manager, he said per the Governor himself, ALL ME work is exempt from the ordered ceasing of ALL non essential operations! By invoking Federal Utility status they are shielded from the order. How is a for profit private company creating nothing to support PA citizens essential during this grave crisis?!?!?!?!?!? These out of state workers are living together in temporary housing, commuting, traversing Chester and Delaware counties freely, frequenting eateries, using gas stations, public restrooms, on sight port a johns, transmitting Covid19 everywhere they leave a footprint, including in our backyard, literally!!!
Perhaps Mr Seagraves hasn’t caught up with the latest order. It is true that pipeline construction was allowed under the Governor’s initial order covering “non-essential” operations, but that was issued on the 16th.
The Governor’s new order, covering “non-life-sustaining” operations, was issued last night (the 19th), and it explicitly forbids all types of construction.
Just spoke with PA State Police-the order goes into effect tomorrow -March 21, 2020. The operator posits that they may need to secure any holes, the work sight, and equipment prior to tomorrow. Completely different information from Thornbury Township. Just wanted you all to be up to speed on what we have been told thus far.
Be well everyone!
Thanks, Jennifer. That’s more like it!