Covid shut it down 3-19-20

On March 18, amid mounting pressure from employees, unions, and county government, Shell announced that it was suspending construction work on its Beaver County cracker plant because of the Covid-19 threat. Sunoco needs to take the same step, suspending the construction of the Dragonpipe (Mariner East pipeline system). You can help make this happen: see the list of actions at the end of this post.

Shell’s construction project is an example of conditions ripe for the spread of Covid-19. Workers were attending large group meetings, riding in buses to worksites together, and eating together in large tents.

It’s not clear whether any Covid-19 cases have occurred among Shell’s workers so far, but Shell announced that “In the days ahead we will install additional mitigation measures aligned with CDC guidance. Once complete, we will consider a phased ramp-up that allows for the continuation of safe, responsible construction activities.”

Mariner East construction is a Covid-19 threat. Like Shell’s workers, workers on Mariner East are ripe for a Covid-19 outbreak. They stay together in the same hotels and RV parks. They eat together, on the job and off. They have group meetings. They travel to worksites in shared trucks. On the job, they meet to discuss their tasks and work out their problems.

It is only a matter of time before Covid-19 travels through their ranks. Some may have it now. If so, they are potentially sharing it with hotel, restaurant, gas station, and convenience store workers as well as their colleagues. At a time when the rest of us are being told to avoid congregating, Mariner East workers continue their dangerous behaviors.

Send a message to Governor Wolf, to Energy Transfer, to Sunoco Pipeline, and to Michels. Governor Wolf has called for all “non-essential” businesses to shut down. This pipeline, which is almost entirely intended to supply plastic manufacturers for private profit, is clearly non-essential. The Governor can shut it down immediately, and he must. Neither Energy Transfer nor Sunoco nor Michels (the primary contractor for pipeline work in our area) has made any public statement about the need to protect workers and the public they are in frequent contact with.

Here is what you can do:

  • Contact Governor Wolf’s office. He can stop construction. Phone: (717) 787-2500. Address: 508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120
  • Contact Energy Transfer. This pipeline is their project. Phone: 214-981-0700. Fax: 214-981-0703. Address: 8111 Westchester Drive, Dallas, TX 75225
  • Contact Sunoco Logistics. They are in charge of Mariner East. Phone: (610) 942-2911. Address: 1824 Horseshoe Pike, Honey Brook, PA 19344
  • Contact Michels Corporation. They are the contractor doing the work in our area. Phone: (920) 583-3132. Address: 817 Main St., Brownsville, WI 53006-0128

Contact each of these four organizations today and ask for Mariner East work to be suspended, just as Shell’s construction has been. Lives are at risk if construction continues.