not invited 7-18-20

I have learned that Sunoco is planning a meeting (or meetings) to discuss settlement options with the most powerful players supporting the Safety 7 lawsuit, without inviting the complainants who initially filed the suit. Sunoco has contacted Chester County, Delaware County, East Goshen Township, and some or all of the school districts and other municipalities that have filed as “intervenors” in the suit, asking for a meeting (presumably a “virtual” one) in the coming week. But Sunoco didn’t even bother to notify, let alone invite, those who filed the complaint in the first place.

What is Sunoco trying to do? It presumably wants to reach agreement on settlement terms with some the larger interested parties, while blocking those at the heart of the suit from participation. It is an attempt at a “divide and conquer” strategy. The company wants to eliminate the parties with major financial and legal resources from the proceedings, isolating the group of residents that raised safety concerns from the start.

We must not let Sunoco do this. You can help (see below).

The Safety 7 formal complaint to the Public Utility Commission is the most important regulatory action involving the Mariner East pipeline. At its heart are two assertions: that Sunoco has failed to come up with any plausible emergency plan to protect the public in case there is a leak; and that pipelines used in Mariner East have been improperly maintained and are prone to leakage. There is a strong case supporting both. The final hearings on the evidence are scheduled for September and October, with a decision to follow. Sunoco has reason to be fearful of the outcome, and that is probably their motivation for talking about a settlement now.

Tell your elected officials: it should be everyone or no one. Each one of us needs to reach out to those we elected to represent us. Tell them not to allow their legal team to attend Sunoco’s meeting unless the people at the heart of the lawsuit—the complainants—can attend as well.

I am not opposed to letting Sunoco tell those involved in the lawsuit what sort of settlement they would like to propose. But none of the parties to this case should be excluded—and certainly not the people who originally filed it. No one should go to this meeting unless everyone can go.

Frankly, I cannot imagine what kind of settlement Sunoco could propose, short of permanently shutting down Mariner East, that would satisfy all the parties. But I don’t object to Sunoco making its pitch, as long as everyone involved is participating.

Reach out to the people you elected. Their email addresses are listed below. Tell them to instruct their lawyers not to attend a settlement meeting with Sunoco unless all the Safety 7 parties are invited. Tell them: no one should attend unless everyone can attend. Don’t let Sunoco’s underhanded tactics undermine the Safety 7 suit.

Contact information for the counties and school districts involved is below. In addition, the following municipalities are intervenors in this case: East Goshen Township, West Whiteland Township, Uwchlan Township, Middletown Township, Thornbury Township and Edgmont Township. If you are a resident in one of them, contact your elected officials.

For Chester County Commissioners:

  • Josh Maxwell, joshmaxwell@chesco.org
  • Marian Moskowitz, mmoskowitz@chesco.org
  • Michelle Kichline, mkichline@chesco.org

For Delaware County Council:

  • BRIAN P. ZIDEK, ZidekB@co.delaware.pa.us
  • MONICA TAYLOR, TaylorM@co.delaware.pa.us
  • KEVIN M. MADDEN, MaddenK@co.delaware.pa.us
  • ELAINE PAUL SCHAEFER, SchaeferE@co.delaware.pa.us
  • CHRISTINE A. REUTHER ReutherC@co.delaware.pa.us

For West Chester Area School District: lcherashore@wcasd.net

For Downingtown Area School District, contact information is here: https://www.dasd.org/Page/3056

For Rose Tree Media School District, contact information is here:          https://www.rtmsd.org/Content2/2324

For Twin Valley School District, contact information is here: https://www.tvsd.org/school_board

Finally, you can add your name to the petition: http://chng.it/d8DfCWzz

Please take action today!