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PA DEP denies hearings on Sunoco Logistics Mariner East pipeline pollution

March 24, 2015

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection denies public hearings for Sunoco Pipeline pumping stations despite 452 requests

Residents immediately request that the DEP reconsider the decision

                                                                                                                                                                                                    For Immediate Release: March 24th, 2015

Betsy Conover, Londonderry Township resident, 505-470-0169;
Phillip Stober, Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County, 917-854-8200
Pam Bishop, Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County, 717-574-6453
Sam Koplinka-Loehr, Clean Air Council, 215-567-4004 x115;
Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth, 610-678-7726;
                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) denied three public hearings for the Sunoco Logistics Mariner East 1 pipeline pumping stations last week despite over 450 requests for each station. The pumping stations—proposed for Shirley, Toboyne, and Londonderry townships—are three of eighteen stations that would be required in order to pump natural gas liquids through the Mariner East 1 pipeline across the state. Already, residents from the three townships have requested that DEP reconsider the decision and listen to the voices of impacted communities.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        In a letter sent on March 9th, DEP Permitting Section Chief Tom Hanlon stated, “DEP has concluded that there is not sufficient local interest in any of the three applications to merit holding public hearings.” This is contrary to residents’ own documentation of tremendous local interest in the issue. Area residents also reported that DEP failed to adequately inform them about the public comment period for the pumping stations.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        “I was present for Sunoco Logistics ‘Open House’ on the Mariner Pipeline projects. The firehall packed in a full crowd. I have yet to see such participation and engagement on a local issue,” said Betsy Conover, a resident of Londonderry Township. “The Middletown Press and Journal featured a lengthy front page article on the meeting highlighting local opposition from the surrounding area. I find it difficult to believe there was ‘insufficient interest’ unless explained by DEP’s complete failure to notify Londonderry Township residents about the comment period for the operating permit.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                        According to the Clean Air Council, 452 people requested a public hearing for each of the proposed operating permits through the Council’s online system, including many residents from affected communities. In the case of Londonderry Township, 16 residents from the area directly surrounding the proposed facility requested a public hearing through the Clean Air Council’s online system. It is possible that other people may have also requested a public hearing independently of the Council.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        “DEP still has the opportunity to reverse their decision and listen to impacted communities,” said Sam Koplinka-Loehr, shale gas organizer with the Clean Air Council. “By allowing a public hearing for the pumping station in West Cornwall Township last month and now denying public hearings for these three other stations, DEP is essentially saying that they only care what some communities have to say about this project. These pumping stations, and the Mariner East 1 pipeline project as a whole, will have tremendous impacts on residents of nearby communities. All that people want is a chance to be heard.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Concerned residents in Shirley, Toboyne, and Londonderry townships can contact the Department of Environmental Protection Air Quality Bureau directly to request that DEP reconsider its decision. The office is open during the week from 9 AM to 4 PM, and available by phone at 717-705-4702.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Kim Van Fleet is a resident of Lower Frankford township in Cumberland County, and helped to start Cumberland and Perry Pipeline Awareness. “It shouldn’t matter whether it is 4-5, 45, 450, or 4500 individuals who are requesting public hearings on the proposed pumping stations. Each and every person is important and should be given the opportunity to be heard,” said Van Fleet. “To deny any Pennsylvania citizen ‘due process’ while Sunoco Logistics continues to railroad their pipeline projects through the state with a blatant disregard for human health and safety is unconscionable at every level of the private and public sectors.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                        “DEP should honor the 452 public hearing requests for the proposed pumping stations in Shirley, Toboyne, and Londonderry townships. The Mariner East pipeline project will pass through the entire southern portion of the state through many communities, the unluckier of these will be subjected to the additional burden of a pumping station. DEP must improve upon its policies for public hearings to ensure that all affected communities are given an opportunity to comment regardless of man-made borders that divide them,” said Stephanie Novak with the Mountain Watershed Association.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        “DEP is supposed to protect the environment we live in,” said Shannon Watson of Hershey in Conewago township. “They are supposed to be on the side of the environment and the public. So why is DEP opposed to holding public hearings? I’m very concerned about a 24/7 Flare Stack being built near my house as well as the pipeline!”
                                                                                                                                                                                                        “The DEP needs to make clear its definition of ‘sufficient local interest’. What number of requests for a public hearing suffices? How does the DEP define local? Is it some number of miles? Since all fossil fuel projects contribute to climate change, doesn’t that make every pipeline project everyone’s problem? What level of interest do people need to express? Is it adequate to sign a petition or is the DEP looking for handwritten letters? This is just the latest in a long line of rejected requests by an agency which fails to understand that its mission is to serve the public it prefers to ignore,” said Karen Feridun, Founder, Berks Gas Truth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        “DEP should hold public hearings in Dauphin, Perry and Huntingdon counties on the proposed air permits for Sunoco’s pump stations and flare stacks along the Mariner East Pipeline, just as DEP granted for the proposed air permit for the Cornwall pump station and flare stack in Lebanon County,” said Pam Bishop with Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County. “We live in a ‘nonattainment area’ where air emissions already exceed national air standards. The health and safety of citizens in Central Pennsylvania are at stake. They have a right to be heard. DEP should take the time to listen.”


Simply the Sun: Save Philly from Dirty Shale Energy Hub

March 13, 2015

Installing solar panels in Germantown: Anil of Sumintra, a local sustainable energy company, should be invited to testify today at City Council. Instead, City Council is in the process of embracing dirty shale energy. Photo: JJTiziou

Although Philadelphia City Council just yesterday unanimously passed a Resolution pressing the feds to ban the puncture-prone, dangerous tank cars carrying volatile Bakken Shale crude oil, today City Council is doing something entirely different.

They’re holding a hearing from 10 AM to 2 PM designed to promote, design and build public-private partnerships in order to transform Philadelphia from the “Next Great Green City” into a “Dirty Shale Energy Hub” instead.

The language they use sounds innocuous. “Energy Hub”: that could mean energy efficiency: deep energy retrofits, insulation up to R60 for severe winter weather, double and triple-pane windows, excellent public transportation infrastructure, and increased investment in sustainable agriculture, since the way we currently produce food involves irrational, poisonous large-scale use of petrochemicals. It could mean shiny solar panels, large-scale wind investment, and small-scale wind turbines that look solid (to birds) so they don’t kill birds.

Except it doesn’t mean any of that. Philadelphia City Council’s “Special Committee on Energy Opportunities” plans to expand PGW’s use of Marcellus Shale fracked gas, including dangerous LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) infrastructure and production. The plan includes building an insane 42″ fracked gas pipeline which would go under the Delaware River.

The plan includes attracting dirty, polluting industries like plastics and chemicals manufacturers to use the cheap Marcellus Shale gas. It’s cheap because it’s almost completely unregulated in the shalefields, from vertical drilling to fracturing and “completion” to waste dumping and spreading waste on the roads, to compressor stations and pipelines, which in case you haven’t noticed keep exploding like the brand-new fracked gas liquids pipeline did in West Virginia in January 2015.

The Philly plan includes more dangerous oil trains, which Philadelphia Energy Suicide (PES), the refinery which keeps flaring and sending toxic smoke and emissions into Philadelphia neighborhoods, relies upon to enact CEO Phil Rinaldi’s vision of expansion and everlasting profits.

So, is Philadelphia City Council getting credit for doing the right thing one day only to race in the exact wrong direction the next day? You bet they are! From Philadelphia Weekly Press:

The Special Committee of City Council on Energy Opportunities for Philadelphia has announced its inaugural hearing agenda for Friday, March 13, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Special Committee will hear testimony on the viability of public-private partnerships (P3s) in Philadelphia, opportunities for expanding the role of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) in Philadelphia’s energy future, best practices and proposals for energy-related P3s, and possible legislative frameworks for future P3 proposals.

The Special Committee is co-chaired by Councilman Bobby Henon (6th District; chair, Committee on Public Property and Public Works) and Councilwoman Marian Tasco (9th District; chair, Philadelphia Gas Commission), and includes Councilman Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District; chair, Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities), Councilman At-Large Ed Neilson (chair, Committee on Labor and Civil Service) and Councilman At-Large David Oh (chair, Committee on Global Opportunities and the Creative/Innovative Economy).
                                                                                                                                                                                     The order of witnesses expected to testify is as follows: Craig White, CEO, PGW; Scott Rubin, Esq., public utilities consultant; Philip Rinaldi, CEO, Philadelphia Energy Solutions; Boris Brevnov, Managing Member, Liberty Energy Trust; John Henry, CEO, Chariot Companies; Franc James, CEO, Penn America Energy LP; The Honorable Ed Pawlowski, Mayor, City of Allentown. Members of the public wishing to testify may email or call 215-686-2070.

Show up, of course, if you can: run over at lunch to City Hall (bring your photo ID!); witness, testify, and protest with small paper signs with messages like “No Dirty Shale Energy Hub” and “Clean Energy Efficiency Hub, Don’t Frack Philly!” and “Sustainability Now: Climate Change is Here” and “NO to Philadelphia Energy Suicide.”

More importantly, pepper Philadelphia City Council members with phone calls, today and over the next few weeks, with that same message. Call the Council President, Darrell Clarke; the Councilmembers involved in this hearing — Henon, Tasco, Johnson, Neilson, and Oh — as well as the at-large Councilmembers and your own Council representative.

Not from Philly? Call anyway! Philadelphia Energy Suicide (PES) is already the largest consumer of Bakken Shale oil. The fracking, flaring and transportation of Bakken Shale oil has already killed well over 50 people, in Lac Megantic and in the shalefields. It will kill many more both in the short term and in the long term.

So when you make your calls today and over the next few weeks, call for:

* A complete moratorium on oil “bomb trains” rather than an expanded role for PES. Invest in renewables instead!

* A complete moratorium on Phil Rinaldi’s testimony at City Council hearings. Bring in Anil from Sumintra instead!

* No 42″ fracked gas pipeline under the Delaware River. No expansion for PGW. Invest in energy efficiency instead!

* Environmental justice instead of environmental racism. No increase in asthma and COPD from new plastics, chemicals and other dirty manufacturers in the Philadelphia region. Invest in sustainable agriculture and public transit instead!

For inspiration, look at what’s going right in Philly! Read “Simply the Sun,” the beautiful, fact-filled photo-essay by renowned photographer JJ Tiziou. Here’s an excerpt from his photo captions:

This shot of Anil “uses the most unique lightsource available to photographers: a giant spherical fusion reactor in the sky. In other words, the sun.” Photo: JJ Tiziou.

“Since the panels that Anil installs kick out so much power, they can not only power the home, but also send excess energy into the utility grid.”

“Anil runs a local sustainable energy business called Sumintra. With a little bit of know-how and some technology that is becoming more and more affordable.”

“That very blast of sunlight that’s overexposing the left side of this image is the same one that could power your home. For free.”

“The panels used are modular, so you can build an array that suits your space.”

What Philadelphia does is not just about Philly. It’s about death and life in the shalefields; it’s about the extreme flooding in our near future if we don’t turn around our greenhouse gas emissions right now; it’s about our democracy.

What Philadelphia decides in the coming weeks and months — to embrace wholeheartedly the expanded profits in polluting industries to massively expand the “market” for fracked gas and oil, or to turn towards sustainability wholeheartedly — impacts the region, the nation, and the globe. Remember we must keep 4/5ths of all known fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avoid going beyond 2 degrees of global warming, triggering the type of climate change which would render the planet mostly uninhabitable, according to scientists.

Philadelphia City Council Adopts Resolution on Dangerous Oil Trains

March 12, 2015

Calls for substandard tank cars to be prohibited, highest safety standards for new tank cars, public disclosure of train traffic and emergency response community forums

Philadelphia, PA – Today Philadelphia City Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for action by the federal government, rail companies and Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management to address threats posed by the train transport of Bakken crude oil through Philadelphia.

The resolution calls for substandard DOT111s and other presently used tank cars that carry Bakken crude to be stopped and urges the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to issue specifications for tank cars that meet the highest safety standards for crude by rail. Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced the resolution that was fully supported by the Council today.

The resolution also calls for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to publicly disclose train schedule and route information and for the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to share with the public the emergency response plans specific to oil train derailments at community workshops.  Testimony at City Council today was made that hundreds of thousands of people are within the evacuation zone of the train route in Philadelphia and that people don’t know anything about the threat and need to know what to do should there be an accident.  The resolution calls for OEM to work pro-actively to update the City’s emergency response plans.

“City Council has taken a stand to protect Philadelphians from these dirty and dangerous oil trains. We look to the companies that are profiting from this enormous and rapidly expanding oil transport to take their cue from City Council and voluntarily stop using DOT111s and CPC1232s for the sake of the people who live and work here.  Philadelphia Energy Solutions (the refinery, PES) and CSX must recognize the profits they make are not worth endangering public safety, our water supplies, and the City’s economic well-being. A derailment catastrophe can be avoided here but not while these explosive oil trains roll through Philadelphia,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“We hope OEM starts to take crude by rail more seriously by engaging the public and showing transparency and for the federal government to pass strong tank car regulations when the Department of Transportation releases its final rule in May. Public safety and the environment have been sacrificed by industry and the federal government for economics and the expediency of delivering crude by rail, for too long,” said Brooks Mountcastle, Eastern PA Director for Clean Water Action.

Testimony by several residents and organizations pointed out that two to three oil trains of 100 cars or more, each carrying about three million gallons of highly volatile and flammable domestic crude oil, course through the City every day in tank cars deemed unsafe by federal agencies.  The tank cars that are used – DOT111s and CPC 1232s – are prone to puncture, explode, and catch fire when derailed, even at very low speeds (DOT 111s puncture at speeds in excess of 8 mph).

Speakers pointed out that most of the oil trains go to the PES refinery in South Philadelphia, which is expanding its operations, meaning more oil train traffic. Today PES is the largest single customer of Bakken crude in the nation, operates the largest oil train rail yard in the U.S., and is the largest oil refinery on the Eastern Seaboard.

Several speakers referenced the four fiery oil train derailments that occurred in just the last month in the U.S. and Canada, heightening fears along the oil train routes. Oil train derailments have sharply risen since Bakken crude oil began to be fracked in North Dakota in the last two years. The Associated Press reported that a USDOT report predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of ten times per year over the next two decades, killing hundreds of people and racking up damages exceeding $4 billion nationwide.

Speakers reminded City Council members that Philadelphia had two near disasters when CSX train cars derailed on January 20, 2014 and January 31, 2015 in the City. Some stated it was just a matter of time before a disaster occurs here unless something is done. There are hundreds of thousands of people within the blast zone of the train tracks in Philadelphia.

Councilman Johnson was thanked repeatedly by speakers for his leadership and City Council members were recognized for standing up for public safety.  Speakers said they see this as a crucial first step in addressing the enormous risks and pollution that crude by rail brings to the City and the look forward to working with the City to put public safety and the environment first.


Contacts:  Tracy Carluccio, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 215-369-1188 x 104

Brooks Mountcastle, Clean Water Action, 215-545-0250 x 203


Action Alert: Philadelphia City Council to Vote on Oil Trains March 12th

March 11, 2015

You’ve seen them: the mile-long trains with black cylindrical cars full of fracked Bakken Shale oil, coming through Philadelphia neighborhoods, snaking along next to and over the Schuylkill River, mere yards from I-76 and I-95 in places. Every one of them is a potential disaster for residents, railway and emergency workers, and for the City of Philadelphia.

We’ve had enough!  Tomorrow, Philadelphia City Council will finally vote on pressing the feds to ban the unsafe rail cars (and more: details below). Action in Philly can help provoke municipalities large and small all over America, where 25 million people are at risk from oil bomb trains, to act. So help us all make sure Philly does the right thing Thursday!

What: City Council Vote on Oil Trains Resolution #150129

When: Thursday, March 12, 10:00 am (it’s first on the agenda)

Where: Philadelphia City Hall, Broad and Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Sign up: Arrive at 9:45 AM with photo ID and sign up in Room 400 to give public comment.(If you arrive late, you can still speak when asked whether anyone else wishes to speak. But please come on time to maximize the power of our presence!)

Bring small paper signs to hold up: “YES on oil train resolution” “STOP the oil train madness” “Oil trains kill!” “Protect Our People / Water / Climate / Safety: No Exploding Oil Trains!”

Please call and write to thank Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and call your City Councilperson to say “Vote Yes” for the Protect Philadelphia oil train resolution – No. 150129.  See Delaware Riverkeeper’s Action Alert here

Background:  Protecting Our Waters calls for a complete moratorium on oil trains, for climateas well as safety reasons. It’s absurd: at least four oil-by-rail derailments and fires in four weeks– two in Ontario, one in West Virginia and one in Illinois. As if the derailments in Lac-Megantic; in Aliceville, AL; Casselton, ND; and Lynchburg, VA weren’t already enough! While we join Center for Biological Diversity and others in standing for a complete moratorium — which City Council’s resolution will not support — we nonetheless urge you strongly to support Resolution 150129 because:

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s resolution calls for banning the unsafe tank cars transporting highly volatile and flammable Bakken crude through Philadelphia; for public disclosure of train schedules and crude by rail movements through the City; and for community meetings by the Office of Emergency Management to share information about emergency response plans if a crude-by-rail fire and/or spill occur. (What is the evacuation plan? Evacuation zones in many of the Bakken crude disasters so far have been one to five miles due to toxic smoke as well as fire.)

Note: PennEnvironment’s report, Danger Around the Bend: The Threat of Oil Trains in Pennsylvania shows that 710,000 Philadelphians live within the evacuation zone of oil train routes. You can also use their action alert to communicate with City Council online: Tell your Councilperson to support these critical protections before the vote.

In case you missed it: Our Coalition put out a press release after the West Virginia derailment and fireball February 16th (but before the Illinois and Ontario derailments and fires last week.) View it here: Catastrophic Oil Train Derailment in West Virginia is an Accident Waiting to Happen in Philadelphia.

Enough with the fireballs. Enough with rivers on fire. Enough with people fleeing from their homes and barely escaping with their lives. Enough with the climate damage. Enough with Philadelphia Energy Solutions — aka Philadelphia Energy Suicide — playing fast and loose with our lives, while harming North Dakota residents hurt by the fracking and flaring. PES brings more risk, more asthma, more flaring, more emissions and more climate damage every day with every oil bomb train.

Protect Philadelphia from Dangerous Oil Trains! Make your voice count.

Tell City Council to Pass Resolution 150129 on March 12th! 

Pssst: Remember: Rebut the use of oil train explosions as an argument for more dirty, dangerous, climate-damaging, water-polluting fossil fuel pipelines. Pipelines spill more than oil trains. Pipelines also explode. The answer is “none of the above.” We need to keep 4/5ths of all known oil and gas reserves in the ground to protect climate. Yes to: energy efficiency, reduced consumption, ending war (U.S. military is world’s biggest user of oil), sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy! 

Ann, Iris, Claudia, Ana, Steve, Marta, and all the POW Organizers

Oil Bomb Train Derails, Explodes in IL; PA, NJ, NY, VA Push Back

March 6, 2015

As yet another oil “bomb train” burns, this time in Illinois about 1000 feet from the Galena River — with a one-mile evacuation zone — the message could not be more clear. The newer, “safer” 1232 rail cars are exploding just like the “unsafe” DOT-111 rail cars. The DOT-111 cars were implicated in many derailments since 47 people were killed by an exploding Bakken Shale oil train in Lac Megantic, Canada in July 2013. But as the February 16th West Virginia fireball and today’s oil cars aflame demonstrate, it’s not the rail cars, it’s the cargo: uber-flammable Bakken Shale oil is not safe by rail, by pipeline, or by barge.

Here is major news coverage followed by organizers and officials responding in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and New York:

Reuters: BNSF oil train derails in rural Illinois; two cars aflame

Chicago Tribune: BNSF: Oil train derailment near Galena involved safer tank cars (includes video)

Huffington Post: Freight train carrying crude derails near Illinois city (photos)

Chicago Sun-Times: Agencies mobilize after crude oil train derails, catches fire near Galena

KWQC: Moment by moment updates, photos on site in Galena breaking news: UPDATE: BNSF to set up claims center after derailment


Flames from BNSF Bakken Shale oil train derailed directly adjacent to the Galena River in Illinois, March 5th, 2015. Photo: Mike Bureley, thonline

 Related: PA, NJ, NY, VA news:

Philadelphia City Council will vote on a Resolution to protect residents from exploding oil trains on Thursday, March 12th. Come in person. To testify, call the Clerk: (215) 686-3410 on Tues. or Weds.

What: Philadelphia City Council general meeting

When: Thursday, March 12th, 10 AM.

Where: City Hall, Broad and Market Streets, 4th Floor, Council Chambers. Remember to bring your photo ID.

Bring: Small paper signs, no sticks, with your messages, such as: “Ban the bomb trains,” “Ban DOT-111 and 1232 rail cars,” “Protect Philly: No Flaming, no Flaring, no Fracking Bakken Shale Oil Trains”

New Jersey: Rally and Press conference Saturday, March 7th, 2015:

Host:  Coalition to Ban Unsafe Oil Trains
What: Rally & Press Conference
When: Sat. March 7 at 2pm – 3:30 pm
Where: Abram Demaree Homestead, Corner of Schraalenburgh Road & Old Hook Road at Oradell Reservoir overpass, Closter, NJ.
Parking: available at United Water, 200 Old Hook Road, Harrington Park, NJ – short walk to homestead & farm.
Contact: Rosemary Dreger Carey
mobile: 201-841-5171

                                                                                                                                                                              Pennsylvania statewide: After three oil train derailments in Pennsylvania in little over one year, PennEnvironment assessed who’s at risk, and where. See their report: Danger Around the Bend.

Virginia: Officials have proposed a $361,000 civil fine to CSX for the Lynchburg derailment and spill last year, plus the costs of investigating the derailment. The massive conflagration and oil spill caused the river to catch fire when a CSX oil train derailed, exploded and burned near Lynchburg last year.

New York: The town of Esopus, already in harm’s way from both oil trains and barges, is also threatened by the controversial proposed Pilgrim Pipelines, which would carry Bakken Shale oil south from Albany to Linden, NJ and refined products like jet fuel and gasoline north, doubling the risk of explosions and leaks. Esopus is holding a forum tomorrow, opposing Pilgrim pipelines with the theme: “Oil trains vs. barges vs. pipelines: A False Choice”:

What: The Esopus Pilgrim Pipelines Community Forum

When: Saturday, March 7th from 10:30 AM to 12 noon

Where: Esopus Library, 128 Canal Street, Port Ewen, New York. 

Speakers: Jen Metzger, Citizens for Local Power and Councilmember, Town of Rosendale; Kate Hudson, Riverkeeper; Iris Marie Bloom, Protecting Our Waters and Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines-NY.

Special Appearance: Sen. Kevin Cahill, or staffer, will make a special announcement at the forum.

Hat tips to Tracy Carluccio, Coryn Wolk, Chris Spatz, Adam Garber, and Rosemary Carey for news links. 

Catastrophic Oil Train Derailment in West Virginia is an Accident Waiting to Happen in Philadelphia

February 20, 2015

Catastrophic Oil Train Derailment in West Virginia is an Accident Waiting to Happen in Philadelphia

Organizations call on City Council and regulators to step up to protect Philadelphia residents NOW


Tracy Carluccio, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 215-369-1188 x 104

Mary Donahue, Clean Water Action, 215-545-0250 x 206

Matt Walker, Clean Air Council, 215-567-4004 x121

Adam Garber, PennEnvironment, (215) 732-5897

Ann Dixon, Protecting Our Waters,

Philadelphia, PA – Update February 20th: As we go to press with this post on derailments, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery lost control of heavy flaring while processing Bakken Shale oil today, sending large clouds of black smoke over southwest Philadelphia and scaring residents of the densely populated neighborhoods.

A CSX train carrying Bakken crude oil from North Dakota careened off the tracks along the Kanawha River at Adena Village and Boomer, West Virginia upstream of Charleston, during a snow storm Monday. A powerful fireball explosion led to evacuation of residents within a half mile, according to news reports.

The train was carrying more than 100 tank cars of highly volatile crude oil when 20 rail cars caught fire, with 26 cars derailed. At least one car fell into the river. The river was set afire and one house was burned as a fireball rose an estimated 300 feet into the air. Residents fled for their lives in frigid temperatures. One resident has been hospitalized, several hundred people are in community shelters, and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency. The fires still burned late Tuesday night. Water intakes on the river have been closed due to oil in the river.

On January 31, in south Philadelphia, 11 tank cars carrying crude oil derailed in the CSX rail yard along the Delaware River next to Rt. 95. There has been a veritable black out of any information about how and why the derailment occurred and any safety or environmental impacts. There has been no follow up reporting about what occurred at the rail yard, how the tank cars were righted, what type of tank cars were involved and the level of risk for neighboring areas and the river if the trains had spilled, punctured or caught fire. This is disturbing because the public is shut out of the most basic information about events that could have very big effects on them.

On January 20th last year, Philadelphia dodged a bullet when seven cars from a CSX oil train derailed. One of the tank cars carrying crude oil dangled over the river from the Schuylkill Arsenal Bridge for days. CSX has made no safety improvements since this accidents. In fact, the volume of dangerous crude being carried through Philadelphia  and the region has increased, increasing risk and opportunities for pollution.

These near-disasters have left many Philadelphia residents asking not IF a catastrophe like the West Virginia calamity will happen here but WHEN it will happen. Two to three mile-long trains carrying domestic crude roll through Philadelphia neighborhoods every day to the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery, which is expanding its operations. Today PES is the largest single customer of Bakken crude in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of people live within the blast zone of the train tracks in Philadelphia.

“West Virginia’s derailment is a horrifying reminder of what could happen in Philadelphia. The possibility of an explosive oil train derailment threatens our health and safety every day. We need action from City Council and the Office of Emergency Management and we need to know what is being done to prevent a catastrophe,” said Mary Donahue, Program Organizer, Clean Water Action.

“CSX is the operator responsible for both derailments here in Philadelphia and for this horrific disaster in West Virginia and many more across the nation. Crude by rail accidents are increasing as fast as the oil is being fracked and loaded into these substandard tank cars on old rickety train tracks and railroad bridges. Where is City Council and emergency management when we need them to protect the City from these unacceptable risks? We are sitting ducks here in Philly, waiting for a catastrophe just like West Virginia’s and no one in authority seems to care,” said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“I live in University City near train tracks that run along the Schuylkill River and near the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. If a train explodes here, the river, homes (including my own) and hospital could be destroyed.  Oil trains must be banned,” asserted resident Ann Dixon, member of Protecting Our Waters.

“It was extremely fortunate that no one was seriously hurt by the derailment and explosion in West Virginia,” said Matt Walker, Community Outreach Director with Clean Air Council.” If an explosion were to happen in Philadelphia, with our high population density and higher number of older oil trains, it could have catastrophic impacts to residents, businesses, universities, and hospitals. While the federal government plans to slowly phase out older tank cars, this doesn’t address the inherent volatility of Bakken crude oil, which can cause explosions even in newer tank cars like those in the West Virginia accident,” added Walker.

“Oil trains are an outrageous risk to our communities. These trains are barreling through Pennsylvania putting the lives of hundreds of thousands at risk and it’s time our elected officials ended this threat before a disaster like West Virginia happens here,” said Adam Garber of PennEnvironment.

A coalition of organizations has requested City Council to adopt a resolution banning DOT 111s and taking other actions to protect the City from oil train pollution and danger.  The letter submitted to City Council and the draft resolution can be found here:



February 20, 2015

Breaking: Just as we were about to publish this week’s press release deploring the inaction, lack of investigation and complete lack of safety plan for bomb train incidents in Philadelphia in the aftermath of three oil train derailments in three days, Feb 14 – 16 2015, we learned about TODAY’s heavy flaring and smoke erupting from the Philadelphia Energy Suicide (PES) refinery.  NBC: “Flare Up at South Philadelphia Refinery Prompts Calls

We know of no air monitoring whatsoever done by the City of Philadelphia or the Pennsylvania DEP. PES naturally claims the smoky air is pure and clean. See no evil. Call PES, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, for more information about this incident: Cherice Corley 215 339 7061. The City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management Director is Samantha Phillips: call her at  215 – 686 – 4465.

Questions: how many times has PES has already flared and sent toxic clouds of smoke over southwest Philadelphia? How many times they will be allowed to flare and smoke before they experience any consequences whatsoever? Most importantly, when will the oil bomb trains be stopped completely?

Now that we know the new rail cars are as unsafe as the old DOT-111 rail cars, we must demand a complete halt on the oil bomb trains. Philadelphia has had two major derailments (one seven cars; one eleven cars) in just over one year. There must not be a third time. Too many risk being incinerated. Stop the oil bomb trains.

Embedded image permalink

Smoke from Philadelphia Energy Solutions (known locally as Philadelphia Energy Suicide) refinery fire wafts over southwest Philadelphia neighborhood. Photo from Twitter post by @CorynWolk February 20th, 2015

February 16th: “Canadian National Railway train carrying crude derails in northern Ontario

February 18th: “North Dakota Oil Train Safeguards Too Little Too Late” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow chronicles three oil train derailments in three days: two in Canada on Valentine’s Day and the West Virginia disaster on February 16th, with special guest Russell Gold. This is a must-watch for the background details about Bakken Shale oil exploding due to its high propane, ethane and butane content — a completely avoidable problem — and due to its spectacular footage from Lynchburg, from the Kanawha River, and from the two most recent derailments in Canada less than one week ago.

Unfortunately, Rachel and Russell leave out the linkage to the ongoing climate disaster and leave unstated the obvious and necessary solution: keep the rest of the Bakken Shale oil in the ground. Four fifths of the current known oil reserves in the world must stay in the ground for us to avoid making our planet uninhabitable due to extreme climate change, scientists say.




Video: Five major pipeline ruptures in January 2015

February 3, 2015

North Dakota. Mississippi. North Dakota again. Montana. West Virginia. Watch the footage of pipeline explosions, fireballs and spills in just the first month of 2015, and you’re likely to join Rachel Maddow in asking, “How much more pipeline can we take?” Fracked oil, fracked gas, fracked natural gas liquids (ethane), and toxic brine from fracking spilled by the millions of gallons into water, air, and land, while the climate impacts go un-estimated, as usual. One explosion was so massive that it was picked up as a “weather event.”

On January 28th, 2015, the Rachel Maddow Show condensed footage of all five January disasters into just 3 minutes.

Maura Stephens, an educator and journalist based at Ithaca College, has created a factual companion narrative (and commentary) providing background information on each of the incidents. She also shows how this 3 minute montage may be used as an organizing tool. Maura Stephens’ narrative:

Here is context for the  3:36-minute clip (could be cut to 3:05, per below) from the Rachel Maddow Show featuring five January 2015 pipeline explosions/ruptures in the USA. Background facts about the five January explosions and ruptures, in chronological order:

                                                                                                                                                                                                     1. On January 6, 2015, a massive pipeline leak in North Dakota began and sent a reported 3 million gallons of frack-waste brine into two creeks near Williston, Blacktail Creek and the Little Muddy River, whence it emptied into the Missouri River, one of Williston’s drinking water sources. Compliments of Summit Midstream, it was the largest toxic frack-brine spill in the state’s history; the fracking byproduct contains heavy salts plus fracking fluids and petroleum. (Poor, poor Missouri River: During major floods last Marchflooded oil will spilled into the river near its confluence with the Yellowstone, where the rising floodwaters threatened 38 oil wells.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Three years before that, during midsummer floods in July, an oil well ruptured and spilled 900 gallons into the Missouri River in North Dakota [the oil wells’ owner: “Clearly, I should have been more prepared, but it didn’t occur to me that the water would go over our 10-foot (containment) dike. When I heard this, I felt terrible. I don’t think I slept an hour last night”]. And two weeks before that, a ruptured crude-oil pipeline had spewed 42,000 gallons into the Yellowstone, which runs into the Missouri River a few miles south. A recent New York Times investigation found that 18.4 million gallons of oil and chemical substances leaked into North Dakota’s air, water, and soil between 2006 and October 2014.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. On the morning of Wednesday, January 14, residents were shocked when a massive fiery explosion of a 30-inch gas pipe run by Gulf South Pipeline near the Barnett Reservoir in Rankin County, Mississippi lit up the sky; a swath of forest burned, and the plume was picked up by weather satellites. Fortunately, those living in the 25 houses in the area were not harmed. I expect some wildlife were not so lucky, nor were the scorched trees.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     3. On Jan. 19, about 51,000 gallons of Bakken shale oil went into the Yellowstone River near Glendive MT  when a Bridger Pipeline Company pipeline burst; this was the second major spill in the Yellowstone in four years and caused the town of Glendive to lose its water supply. The pipeline, which was supposed to be buried at least four feeb below the river bottom, “somehow” became exposed and ruptured. I mean, I ain’t an EPA engineer, but this seems absolutely stupid to me:

“None of us anticipated the drinking water problem,” said Peronard, a 30-year veteran of the EPA who estimates he’s worked to clean up about 200 spills. Though Glendive depended on the river for drinking water, its intake pipe at the treatment plant sat well below where anyone expected the oil to float. “As soon as they told me the intake was 14 feet below the water surface, I wasn’t worried about the water intake,” he said. “Turned out to be wrong about that.” (National Geographic story, “Ice Hampers Cleanup in Yellowstone’s Rare Winter Oil Spill,” link below)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        4.  On January 22, 100,000 gallons of toxic brine was spilled near Tioga, North Dakotacompliments of Hess Bakken Investments II LLC.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     5. And then on January 26, the West Virginia fireball that Maddow led her story with. The 12 month-old pipeline, run by Texas-based Enterprise Products Partners LP, has been carrying about 80,000 barrels per day to the Gulf Coast. From the story in “In West Virginia, state law mandates that the actual natural gas wells be a minimum of 625 feet from a residence. But when it comes to the pipelines that transport natural gas, there is no such distance regulation.” Oh goody, who would want any more annoying regulations getting in the way of our profits?
                                                                                                                                                                                                        More info: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: “Weather hampers Yellowstone cleanup” — Shows starkly how insane a thing it is to force anyone to have to be on call to do, much less actually attempt. It’s so impossible anyway.  Remember, in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster, only 14 percent of the 11,000,000+ gallons of oil was recovered. (Scientists estimate that 50 percent decomposed or biodegraded or evaporated, but that still leaves 36 percent in and around Prince Island Sound — nearly 4,000,000 gallons. Ugh.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                         This is worth re-reading: Prior to these five incidents, a recent New York Times investigation found that 18.4 million gallons of oil and chemical substances leaked into North Dakota’s air, water, and soil between 2006 and October 2014 due to Bakken Shale oil operations.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Suggestion to organizers presenting this 3 minute clip at a public forum:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I’d start it at :15 in — You’d just have to introduce it as “A midday explosion at a relatively new — one year old — pipeline in Brooke County, West Virginia, carrying Marcellus shale gas, on Monday, January 26th 2015. And you could stop at 3:20 for time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Thanks to Maura Stephens:
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maura Stephens
Independent journalist, educator, theater artist
Contributor, Truthout
Cofounder, FrackBustersNY

Breaking: Oil “Bomb Train” Derailment in Philadelphia Today

January 31, 2015


Second Bakken Shale oil train derailment in Philly in one year

Breaking:  Today the second major oil “bomb train” derailment occurred in Philadelphia, risking residents’ lives, endangering drivers on one of the nation’s busiest highways, I-95, and putting waterways at risk. One year and eleven days ago, early on Martin Luther King Day 2014,  seven cars carrying Bakken Shale crude derailed over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia in a “near miss from disaster.” That derailment put the entire University of Pennsylvania medical complex, the Schuylkill Expressway, the Veterans Administration, Children’s Hospital, and other major institutions at risk, along with a chunk of Philadelphia’s residential population too big to safely evacuate.

Both accidents were predictable, preventable, and a near miss from potentially catastrophic impacts. There must be no third derailment. That no rupture occurred is extremely lucky. We can’t leave prevention to luck.

From ABC News today:

Philadelphia firefighters and Hazmat crews swarmed the area near Lincoln Financial Field and the Philadelphia Naval Yard after 11 train cars went off the tracks early Saturday morning.

The derailment happened after 3:00 a.m. near South 11th Street just south of Interstate-95.

The cars were carrying crude oil.

After it was determined, there were no ruptured cars, crews turned the incident over to CSX.

CSX officials brought in cranes to upright the cars.

There is no word on what caused the derailment.

Stop the Oil Bomb Trains, Period

Clearly it’s high time to stop the oil bomb trains. Bakken Shale oil, extracted by fracking, accompanied by flaring on a massive scale, has to stay in the ground. To literally see how huge the gas flaring from Bakken Shale oil fracking is, view the giant eerie glow from North Dakota on this map: “Watch fracking gas flares light up the earth at night.”

You don’t have to live in Philadelphia to call your legislators right now to demand an immediate end to the oil bomb trains. Protect people, waterways, our major institutions, health and safety, and climate! But if you do live in Philadelphia, this is the time to begin demanding relentlessly that these trains stop coming through Philly every day, period.

Even while the Yellowstone River continues to be impacted by the huge Bakken Shale oil spill there from a burst pipeline, the industry keeps attempting to frame the argument as “trains vs. pipelines.” But the fact is that while pipelines spill far more gallons of oil altogether than trains or barges, trains are deadly and barges put rivers at risk. None of these risks are acceptable.

Don’t allow this split. The premise — that “the oil needs to get where it needs to go,” as the industry puts it — is false. That’s pure Koch Industries lingo: Koch “primary” is early proving ground for GOP hopefuls (New York Times)

No oil bomb trains, no Pilgrim Pipelines, no Bakken Shale oil by barge, no fracking and flaring in the Bakken. No means no!

Find my state legislator

Find my U.S. Senator and Representative




Oil in the Yellowstone River; Stop Pilgrim Pipeline

January 20, 2015

Residents Told “Don’t Drink the Water”

An estimated 50,000 gallons of oil have spilled into the Yellowstone River in Montana from a 12″ pipeline carrying Bakken Shale crude oil. Although the leak was discovered Saturday morning January 17th at 10 AM and the flow through the pipeline was reported to be cut off by 11 AM, the spill is massive and toxic.

Residents began reporting a “diesel-y” odor and taste to their drinking water, but were not told early this morning not to drink the water. Benzene, a potent carcinogen, is among the toxic substances confirmed in residents’ drinking water.

Authorities had been led to believe that because the pipeline, part of the “Bridger” pipeline system, is fourteen feet (also reported as eight feet) below the river, drinking water could not become contaminated. But those eight to fourteen feet did not protect the river, the ecosystem, or residents of local cities. From the Billings Gazette: Crews to Clean Up Oil Spilled into Yellowstone River.

From CNN: Up to 50,000 gallons of oil spilled in Yellowstone River; residents told not to drink water.

The massive oil spill happened when the 12-inch pipeline, which crosses the Yellowstone River, ruptured Saturday about 5 miles upstream from Glendive, Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality said. The Bridger Pipeline company shut down the pipeline.

Glendive City Council member Gerald Reichert was among the residents who noticed a disturbing odor in the drinking water.

“Suddenly at our house there was a definite smell. It was a diesel smell,” Reichert told the Grand Forks Herald.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced a state of emergency for Dawson and Richland counties.

Opposing Pilgrim Pipelines: One 16″ and one 18″ pipeline 

While the investigation into the latest Bakken Shale crude oil disaster contaminating the Yellowstone River is still underway, resistance to the proposed Pilgrim oil Pipelines in New York State is increasing. So far, residents have spurred their town Boards to pass eight Resolutions Opposing Pilgrim Pipeline(s): Rosendale, New Paltz Town and Village, Rhinebeck, Rochester, Woodstock, Marbletown, and the City of Kingston, all in New York. New Jersey towns have passed 24 resolutions opposing Pilgrim Pipelines, so the combined total is 32.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The next two Town Board meetings which are explicitly considering voting on Resolutions Opposing Pilgrim Pipelines will be in Saugerties and Plattekill, both Wednesday, January 21st at 7 pm.  Both meetings are open to the public:
                                                                                                                                                                                      Saugerties will consider the Resolution Opposing Pilgrim Pipeline at their Board meeting on January 21st. A determined crowd will make a huge difference.
                                                                                                                                                                                         Plattekill will vote on the Resolution Opposing Pilgrim Pipeline at their Board meeting on January 21st. A large, resolute showing will make all the difference.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Update posted January 22nd: Last night Plattekill passed the Resolution Opposing Pilgrim Pipeline.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pilgrim has quickly developed a reputation for bullying and for dissembling. Pilgrim reps have been showing up to demand the right to survey land, in Newburgh, Tuxedo, Rosendale, Kingston, Saugerties and other towns. They often imply or outright claim the company has eminent domain, which is false: Pilgrim hasn’t even applied for a single permit in New York for construction and operation of their pipeline. But this doesn’t stop their representatives from threatening landowners with intimidating legal action.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 New Paltz Times reports: Pilgrim Pipeline Opponents Say Landowners’ Denying Access Are Baseline of Defense.

                                                                                                                                            Lessons From the Yellowstone Spill So Far

                                                                                                                                                                                                   Oil Travels Far and Fast: The Washington Post reports in “Drinking water trucked into Montana city after oil spill“: “An oil sheen has been seen near Sidney, almost 60 river miles downstream from Glendive, said Paul Peronard, the on-scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”
                                                                                                                                                                                      Pipeline Inspections Do Not Lead to Problems Being Corrected: The same Washington Post story, and other sources, have affirmed that the breached Poplar pipeline was inspected in 2012. Although the inspection showed problems, the problems were obviously not fixed. With 135 inspectors for 2.5 million miles of pipeline in the U.S., inspections can’t possibly be expected to prevent oil spills such as this.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Bigger Pipelines Spill More, Faster: The Poplar Pipeline, the one that spilled crude oil into the Yellowstone River, is a 12″ pipeline. The Pilgrim Pipelines would be 16″ and 18″ respectively. See How Does the Leaky Yellowstone River Pipeline Size Up with Keystone XL.
                                                                                                                                                                                       Response Time: Even with a one-hour response time, the Bridger Pipeline spilled massively into the Yellowstone River.  At the 10/21/14 Kinnelon New Jersey meeting, Pilgrim executives conceded that a pipeline leak response could be expected “within 24 hours.”  And by response, they mean simply flying somebody in to inspect a leak, not necessarily to fix or clean it up, let alone having an adequate evacuation or clean water plan for local residents.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 “This response lapse is entirely possible in more unpopulated areas of the Pilgrim route, such as the roughly 1.6 mile stretch proposed by Pilgrim to run through Troy Meadows in the Whippany/Passaic Watershed,” said Anita Austenberg Shotwell, Trustee of Wildlife Preserves, Inc.

“Needless to say, a significant amount of damage can occur within 24 hours,” Shotwell added.
U.S. Department of Transportation Inadequate to the Job: The Wall Street Journal reports, in Oil Spills into Yellowstone River After Pipeline Leak:
Late last year, Bridger Pipeline received a warning letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, alleging that the company didn’t follow proper reporting procedures when it inspected the Poplar pipeline in 2012. The agency didn’t impose a fine. The company hasn’t filed a response with PHMSA and didn’t immediately respond to questions about the warning.

Problems Persist Over Decades:  This link provides a PHMSA letter to Bridger Pipeline Company LLC from February 2, 2007 referencing a 2005 inspection, and cites violation data on the Poplar Pipeline. It also references repairs from 2004 and 2005. It cites interesting problems with the pipeline.

And the Helena Independent Record from 1965 references an oil spill into the Yellowstone River from a 12″ pipeline constructed in 1955.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Spilled Oil Can Not Be Cleaned: The Hudson Riverkeeper reports on the risks of spills on and into rivers.  Also see a NOAA report on a Bakken Shale oil spill in the Lower Mississippi in February, 2014. 750-800 barrels went into the water, and only 2.5 barrels were recovered.
                                                                                                                                                                                             Newer Pipelines Spill Too: While our sources indicate that Poplar was an older pipeline, possibly built in 1955, newer pipelines are also spilling. The claim made by Pilgrim Pipelines representative Giorgio DeRosa in Plattekill, New York that because Pilgrim would be newer, it would probably not spill “for a hundred years,” is absurd.  Here are just a few examples of newer pipelines spilling:
Tesoro Logistics Pipeline (Wall Street Journal)

Mariner East Pipeline ( Sunoco Logistics pipeline, 2014 drilling mud spill)

Silvertip Pipeline (Wall Street Journal: ExxonMobil pipeline, 2013)

Tar Sands Bitumen Mixed with Bakken Shale Crude in Pilgrim Pipelines? Worst of the Worst

                                                                                                                                                                                                       As proposed, the two Pilgrim Pipelines, one 18″ and one 16″, would run side by side from Albany down through the Hudson Valley to Linden, New Jersey. The pipelines, if allowed, would carry oil south and “refined products” north: jet fuel, diesel, gasoline, other.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    For years we’ve been told the pipeline would carry Bakken Shale crude oil south. But two weeks ago, powerful Albany lobbyist Giorgio DeRosa told a packed roomful of residents in Plattekill, New York, that “only 15 – 20% of the oil would be from the Bakken Shale… the rest will be mostly from Canada.”
In other words: Tar Sands oil, called bitumen because it is so thick it’s not even accurate to call it “crude oil.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The industry may be thinking: hey, Bakken Shale oil is terribly flammable; if you mix it with the asphalt-like Tar Sands bitumen, it may be less so. And the tar sands bitumen must be diluted in order to flow through a pipeline, so why not dilute it with Bakken Shale crude? For them, it looks like a potentially profitable win-win. For everyone else, it’s the worst of the worst.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     That includes Philadelphia, which is likely to receive substantial amounts of the oil delivered by Pilgrim Pipelines to Linden, New Jersey. In Philadelphia, yet more toxic black smoke wafting over from the refinery just last weekend. From NBC: Operational Issues at South Philly Refinery Cause Black Smoke to Rise.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      In September 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard said both tar sands bitumen and Bakken Crude pose special risks for waterways and that no methods exist which can clean these spills. From “Standards needed for heavy oil cleanup, U.S. Coast Guard says“:

Risky heavy oils and cleanup

Popiel said there are a network of pipelines that carry two types of heavy oil in Canada and the United States.

The first is oil-sands product, which is too thick to flow through pipelines. It’s made thinner with dilutants. The diluted oil can be flammable once spilled in water.

The other is Bakken crude, a lighter oil, that is more flammable and volatile. It’s the same oil that caused the Lac-Mégantic train disaster, which killed 47 people and destroyed the downtown of the small Quebec town in 2013.

The Mayflower, Arkansas spill, the Kalamazoo River spill and, unfortunately, so many more, like the Yellowstone, all have their own lessons. The question is: when will we learn? Keep the oil in the shale. Keep the oil in the sands. Fight like hell to protect our climate. History is made by those who show up, so show up in Plattekill, in Saugerties, and at the very least, sign this petition already:  Stop the Pilgrim Pipeline.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      In honor of Yellowstone River and the people who can’t drink their water, help use get to 1000 signatures in the next 24 hours.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Peter Dolan, Cindy Kane, Margo Pellegrino, Gale Pisha, Jessica Romeo, Anita Shotwell and Joe Testa contributed research to this article.