As the Mariner East pipeline is under criminal investigation by Chester County DA Tom Hogan, criticism of the pipeline on social media from citizens has yielded threats and criticism from union workers on the pipeline.
Hogan released a screenshot of threatening messages posted by a worker he identified as a welder with Pipeliners Union Local 798, based in Oklahoma, and condemned the messages, saying he had spoken to union officials to seek disciplinary actions.
“If my weld was bad I hope it’s in your backyard so I can watch your house burn down on the news,” the unidentified welder wrote in an Instagram comment to a Chesco resident, captured in a screenshot shared by Hogan. “Thanks for the 100,000.00 summer.”
The worker also called the Chesco resident a “r—-d” and “k–t,” a mispelling of an insult, after she raised concerns about the safety of the Mariner East pipelines.
“Calling a woman that particular word is incredibly offensive, even if you spell it incorrectly,” Hogan said in a statement. “Calling anybody the ‘R’ word is unacceptable. We will not allow our citizens to be bullied.”
Part of the Mariner East II Pipeline in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. (Wikimedia Commons)
Hogan urged any other Chesco residents who are bullied or threatened by pipeline workers to contact his office or notify local authorities. His office also contacted Local 798 leadership in Oklahoma and Texas, who he said “agreed that the comments were totally inappropriate.”
The incident reflects growing tensions around Hogan’s investigation into Mariner East’s pipelines, which is being conducted by special prosecutor Seth Weber, a former federal prosecutor.
The investigation was kicked off in December 2018 in part due to concerns of the pipelines causing sinkholes and fouling well water, along with other public safety hazards, which Hogan said may lead to charges of ‘causing a catastrophe.’ Hogan said the pipelines “rip through the heart of Chester County,” citing sinkholes that formed in backyards of West Whiteland Township homes, allegedly contaminated well-water in Chester County, and the September 2018 pipeline explosion that he said burned down a home in Beaver County.
“We expected the state regulators and the governor to step in and assure the safety of Pennsylvanians,” Hogan previously said. “They have not.”
Energy Transfer, LP, which owns and operates the pipeline along with Sunoco Logistics Partners and related corporate entities, strongly denied all of Hogan’s allegations.
“Energy Transfer has not engaged in any form of criminal activity,” a company spokeswoman said via email, “and the issues referenced by the District Attorney that have arisen in Chester County related to the pipeline have already each been thoroughly investigated, reviewed, and ultimately resolved by the appropriate government agencies that are actually tasked with environmental safety and oversight, including the Department of Environmental Protection and the Public Utility Commission.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Enviromental Protection extensively reviewed the project before granting permits to the pipeline.
Mariner East transports liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in western Pennsylvania to customers in the state and elsewhere, including international exports from
The Mariner East 2 350-mile natural gas liquid pipeline was reportedly in service as of Jan. 3, transporting ethane, propane and butane from processing plants in Ohio across West Virginia and Pennsylvania to Energy Transfer’s Marcus Hook complex in Delaware County. The pipeline has faced numerous regulatory and environmentalist challenges but is estimated to have a $9.1 billion positive impact in Pennsylvania alone, and is projected to provide 9,500 construction jobs per year for six years, with associated earnings of about $2.7 billion, according to Daily Energy Insider.