Author Archives: ChescoD

First Amendment rights

from “Calling on Costello: West Chester – The First Amendment” Jan. 12 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Hosted by Concerned Constituent Action Group:

From CCAG’s Facebook post:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. — The First Amendment

“One of the risks of representative democracy is that elected officials may favor the narrow partisan interests of their most powerful supporters, or choose to advance their own personal interests instead of viewing themselves as faithful agents of their constituents. A robust right to petition is designed to minimize such risks. By being forced to acknowledge and respond to petitions from ordinary persons, officials become better informed and must openly defend their positions, enabling voters to pass a more informed judgment”. — The Constitution Center

The First Amendment includes the freedom to express opinions and carry signs that your representative may not like.

The First Amendment protects the right to communicate with government officials.

The First Amendment allows you to post comments to your representative on social media

We would like to remind our representative of these rights in light of constituents being banned from attending town halls and from being blocked on Facebook.

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” – Benjamin Franklin

“For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.” — George Washington

A Welcome and Very Justified Halt

from Sierra Club of Chester County, 1/4/18

Yesterday the DEP suspended the construction permits it had issued Sunoco Pipeline L.P. last February for Mariner East 2 pipeline because of numerous violations. This required Sunoco to cease all construction activity aside from maintenance of erosion controls and HDD equipment. This suspension will be in effect until the pipeline operators fulfill ALL the requirements of the Chapter 102 (Erosion and Sediment Control) and Chapter 105 (Water -Obstruction & Encroachment) permit applications including the impacts to private water wells

This action was necessary due to over 100 drilling fluid spills (inadvertent spills) some of which resulted in the contamination of water wells, an expanding sinkhole threatening private homes, and numerous violations due to unauthorized construction methods. The settlement reached with the Environmental Hearing Board last August had not been respected.

This halt was not unexpected due to Sunoco’s poor safety record (worst of any pipeline operator in the US), rush to complete construction due to pending litigation, and the presence of the Karst topography in parts of Chester and Delaware counties, making horizontal directional drilling (HDD) hazardous because of the presence of sinkholes and fissures. Furthermore Sunoco was employing construction methods prohibited by the DEP in some areas.

Last month State Senator Andrew Dinniman, followed by other State Senators and House Representatives as well as local organizations including East Goshen Safety & Environmental Advocates (EGSEA) and Delco United requested the Governor to halt construction. It is hoped that the choice of the route following the right-of-way of the 1931 Mariner East 1 will be shown to be poorly chosen for a pipeline carrying hazardous natural gas liquids now going through densely populated suburban counties.

– Bernie Greenberg, Sierra Club of Chester County, Pipeline Committee Chair

Press Release from Joann Kilgour, Sierra Club, PA Chapter Director

Front page article in Philadelphia Inquirer 1/4/2018

Front Page article in Daily Local News 1/4/2018

Dinniman Calls on Gov. Wolf to Halt Pipeline Construction

State Senator Andy Dinniman (D-19), December 19, 2017

WEST CHESTER (December 19, 2017) – Calling the impacts of Sunoco’s Mariner East II Pipeline drilling “unacceptable,” state Senator Andy Dinniman again today called on Governor Tom Wolf to suspend the project until constituents’ concerns are resolved.

“In my district alone, pipeline construction has contaminated almost two dozen wells, disrupted businesses, created significant environmental damage, and resulted in the development of an expanding sinkhole that currently threatens at least two private homes and is within 100 feet of Amtrak’s Keystone Line,” Dinniman wrote in a December 18 letter to Wolf. “I should point out that all of these incidents have occurred in a single Chester County municipality [West Whiteland Township] as a result of pipeline construction.”

Dinniman, who serves on the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, has been a vocal critic of the way the pipeline was being constructed and an advocate for voicing residents’ environmental, public health, property rights, and safety concerns related to the project….

keep reading, see video of Sen. Dinniman’s forceful remarks to the PA Senate, pending legislation, etc. at State Senator Andy Dinniman. Senator Dinniman to PA Senate: “The Truth of the matter is that DEP is not protecting my constituents against a real and present danger.”

The Gathering Storm

by Andrew Cohen, Brennan Center for Justice, December 20, 2017

2017 may be remembered as the year that set in motion battles that will be resolved in 2018, which could be the most consequential year since 1968.

If America still has legitimate historians a century from now, if we somehow still are a democratic republic, our descendants will look back on 2017 with a mixture of bewilderment and disdain. Why did so many policymakers and legislators implement so many policies that were so manifestly unpopular? Why did so many otherwise reasonable people unmoor themselves from facts and evidence and tie themselves to conspiracy theories based on the darkest impulses of our nature? What sort of madness lay over the land and could we see, even in the first year of the Trump era, not just signs of resistance but inklings of a restoration?

The miserable, nasty, disheartening year we are about to leave no doubt meant different things to different people. To me, looking at the intersection of law and politics, it mostly meant a precursor to what we can expect in 2018, a year that quite possibly could be one of the more consequential and contentious in modern American history. From the looming new tax law to the DACA children to marijuana policy to the administration’s Russia scandal, virtually every major question raised by the events of the year may be answered next year. And that is all before we all vote next November to determine whether Republicans maintain their stranglehold on Congress.

Take the Supreme Court, for example….

keep reading at Brennan Center for Justice