The state Department of Environmental Protection issued an order suspending the construction permits associated with the Mariner East 2 pipeline until Sunoco Pipeline LP meets the requirements of its order.
According to a news release from the DEP Wednesday, Sunoco must cease all construction activity on the pipeline project, except for maintenance of erosion controls and limited maintenance of horizontal directional drilling equipment.
The Mariner East 2 pipeline project runs through Cumberland County, generally following near the path of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The planned $2.5 billion pipeline will carry propane, butane and ethane from the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation to an export terminal near Philadelphia.
“Until Sunoco can demonstrate that the permit conditions can and will be followed, DEP has no alternative but to suspend the permits,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We are living up to our promise to hold this project accountable to the strong protections in the permits.”
Sunoco is expected to submit a report within 30 days that explains the violations DEP found and noted in its order, as well as the steps Sunoco proposes to ensure those violations will not recur.
“We intend to expeditiously submit these reports, and we are confident that we will be reauthorized to commence work on this project promptly,” said Jeff Shields, spokesman for Sunoco. “We also reiterate our commitment to the highest levels of construction and expertise and our dedication to preserving and protecting the environment in which we conduct our work.”
Shields said that as of a few weeks ago during Sunoco’s last report on construction, mainline pipeline construction is about 91 percent complete, and its horizontal directional drills are more than 62 percent complete.
Some of the terms the DEP highlighted in its order involve addressing the effects the pipeline has on private water wells in Silver Spring Township, identifying all in-progress and upcoming construction activities and submitting a detailed operations plan outlining additional measures and controls to minimize boring fluid on the surface.
According to the DEP’s statement on settlement of suspension of drilling, the DEP reached an agreement with the Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Mountain Watershed Association Inc. on Aug. 9 to resolve the temporary suspension of horizontal directional drilling activity involved in the pipeline project. As part of that agreement, Sunoco made revisions to some of the plans associated with the project.
Under the agreement, Sunoco will notify all landowners and water supply owners within 450 feet of future drilling sites and provide additional opportunities for water testing for those owners. Sunoco will also re-evaluate at least 63 areas where drilling will take place, and those reports will be posted to the DEP website.
Among the issues DEP cited in its Wednesday suspension order were permits in two local areas.
DEP said in its report that it responded to a complaint on Dec. 5 that a stream crossing was installed at Perry Bridge site over Shaeffer Run in Toboyne Township, Perry County, without a permit. The DEP said it discovered an “air bridge” that was installed over an existing bridge that had been deemed unsafe by county inspectors. The DEP said it discovered the bridge was installed on Oct. 28 without the required permit from the department.
The DEP also said that the Cumberland County Conservation District on Dec. 18 conducted an inspection of pipeline construction activities near North Locust Point Road. The conservation district documented that the pipeline construction method was “trenchless construction,” even though the DEP permit was for “open-cut” methodology.
Sunoco also notified the DEP that it had received complaints from two private water supply owners in the vicinity of its horizontal directional drilling site in Silver Spring Township that they had cloudy water — the first complaint had been filed Dec. 15 and the second on Dec. 18, according to DEP’s order.
Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance argued that starting and stopping construction and horizontal directional drilling does greater harm to the environment.
“Every stakeholder involved in this process has the same shared priority: the safe development of critical infrastructure like Mariner East 2,” said Kurt Knaus, spokesman for the alliance, which supports private investments in pipeline and other energy infrastructure developments. “We are acutely aware of how this project affects our communities, as we are of the tremendous economic benefits it promises for Pennsylvania businesses and consumers upon completion. This project remains critically important for our commonwealth. Sunoco and DEP should work expeditiously to resolve this matter so safe construction can resume and this vital project can get back on track.”
Delaware Riverkeeper Network also issued a statement Wednesday arguing the project should have never been approved.
“Today’s order from DEP ultimately represents DEP’s understanding that Sunoco shamelessly broke a number of terms and conditions that Delaware Riverkeeper Network and others helped secure through litigation with the department in a settlement agreement,” said Maya van Rossum, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. “This project was flawed from the start, and it is disgraceful that these flaws have manifested themselves in such a way that the public’s health and environment have been significantly impacted. This order provides further evidence that the project should never have been authorized by DEP in the first place.”
DEP had previously temporarily halted drilling of the Mariner East 2 in July so that Sunoco could make corrective actions in Chester County, which was also in relation to drilling activities and adverse effects to private water supplies from 14 homeowners.
Joyce Morgan has completed what she calls an “overwhelming journey” — one that began in tragedy last year but today is ending in celebration.
“It’s been an incredible year,” said Morgan, owner of Joyce Morgan’s Beauty and Wig Salon, 235 York Road, Carlisle. “We’re so excited to be back in business … (and) it’s so wonderful to come back for the homecoming — the end of the journey — at Christmas, the most beautiful time of the year.”
Morgan’s business was destroyed in a fire last November. Since then, she has rebuilt and will now celebrate with an open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Morgan said the event will feature cookies and home cooked foods and give her and her staff an opportunity to thank the community for its support.
“We want to show our gratitude to all who stayed with us,” she said. “We decided to do it on a Sunday (rather than a work day) so we could focus on the people who made it possible for us to return, to greet and thank folks and hope they will share some food with us.”
A hair stylist for 52 years, Morgan and her husband purchased the property in 1970 and soon after opened the doors to her home-based business. She said the house, which was built in 1955, was once home to a sewing machine store and later the Ponytail Drive-in restaurant, which she recalls visiting as a child.
But last November, heat from a grill she was cleaning on the patio next to the house caused a fire that spread into the attic.
“On Veterans Day 2016, I lost everything,” she said.
Morgan, whose husband died about three months earlier, escaped the fire with her two Golden Doodle dogs.
She said her first thoughts were of her staff. She started immediately to make calls, finding other beauty salons in the area that would hire the seven people she employs until she was able to reopen her business.
“This happened on a Friday night, and by Monday I had everyone placed,” she said. “That was a priority, to have places for everyone to work.”
A year later, on Nov. 20, Morgan passed her state inspection, and on Nov. 21, she was back in business.
She said her staff is back, and her regular clients have returned along with a few new customers.
“That’s how incredible the Lord has been for me, providing for me every step,” she said.
“The clients have been phenomenal, and I have the most incredible employees I could ever ask for. They were by my side the whole time through.”
Morgan’s business is a full-service salon that offers regular and walk-in appointments for men and women, Monday to Saturday. Her new shop includes a barbering space for two in-house barbers.
Ask/Answered is a weekly feature for reader-submitted questions. Follow the blog online at www.cumberlink.com:
How many people were criminally charged in 2017 with killing another person?
A total of 12 people were criminally charged for causing the death of another person in Cumberland County in 2017, according to court records.
This is a 50 percent increase from the year prior.
These cases accounted for roughly 0.04 percent of all new cases entering the system in 2017, court records show.
However, the increase comes entirely from drug overdose deaths being treated as homicides.
In Pennsylvania, someone can be charged with felony drug delivery resulting in death if they provide drugs to a person who overdoses and dies. The offense carries a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years and is quickly become a go-to charge for law enforcement as the number of people dying from drug overdoses continues to rise.
A total of seven people were charged with the offense in the county last year, compared to only three the year prior, according to court records.
Another three people were charged with either felony homicide by vehicle or felony homicide by vehicle while DUI, court records show.
This is the same number of people who were charged with those offenses in 2016 in the county.
Similarly, there was no change in the number of people charged with criminal homicide or murder in the county between 2016 and 2017, according to court records.
Two people were charged in both years, according to court records.
Mark Jante, 59, of Carlisle, became the first person charged with criminal homicide in the county in 2017 after police said he got drunk, and stabbed and killed his friend inside a home in Middlesex Township in March.
The county went without another criminal homicide case until November, when police said 35-year-old Rhyheim Hodge was shot and killed inside his home in Carlisle.
Christopher Jaquell Williams, 25, of Harrisburg, was arrested less than three days after the killing and charged with criminal homicide.
Both men are being held in county prisons with bail denied while awaiting trial, according to court records.
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Beer and wine sales at Mechanicsburg’s Rutter’s Farm Store could become a reality in the new year.
On Tuesday night, Mechanicsburg Borough Council agreed to schedule a public hearing at 6 p.m. Feb. 20 for the transfer of a state liquor license for a Rutter’s located at 714 W. Main St. The application was submitted by 1747 Beer & Wine LLC, a subsidiary of Rutter’s Holding Inc.
The public hearing will be conducted during the borough council’s regularly scheduled meeting at the municipal building, 36 W. Allen St. Public advertisement of the hearing and the cost of a court stenographer will be covered by the applicant, borough solicitor Lisa Coyne said.
Rutter’s has opened its self-labled “Beer Caves” and wine racks in more than a dozen locations throughout central Pennsylvania since the passage of Act 39 liquor law reforms in 2016 that eased state restrictions on alcohol sales, according to a news article posted on the York-based retailer’s website. The 6,280-square-foot Mechanicsburg location opened in December 2013 with 10 fueling spaces. It is Rutter’s 59th store.
In other news, incumbent Jack Ritter was sworn in for a new term as mayor, while incumbents Scott Pellman, Gary Weber, Jack Winchell and Rodney Whitcomb were sworn in for new terms on the borough council. Whitcomb was reappointed as council president, joined by Winchell’s reappointment as council vice president. Council committee members will be appointed at the board’s Jan. 16 meeting.
Also on Tuesday, Diane Hollinger, Carl Hursh and Cece Viti were recognized by borough officials for their service on the borough’s recycling committee since its inception in 2003 through December 2017. The committee recently was dissolved because much of its work was being duplicated by the borough’s environmental advisory council, assistant borough manager and recycling coordinator Glenda Boyer said.
Also, borough council approved a resolution honoring Randi Conley for serving the Mechanicsburg Police Department and borough for 31 years. Conley worked as the department’s confidential police secretary, Chief Mindy Myers said. Council members also approved a resolution on Tuesday that honors Rae Dennis, who served eight years, or the equivalent of 1½ terms, on the borough’s shade tree commission.
Finally, council members and Borough Manager Roger Ciercierski discussed options of how the borough will proceed after the resignation of longtime borough fire chief Larry Seagrist on Dec. 31. For now, Seagrist’s position remains vacant as officials consider how to best create a job description for the post.
Whitcomb said he wasn’t in favor of advertising the position on a wide scale. “I want to keep it local so he can be here to run the fire department,” he said.