Residents, Are Being Lied to By Our Board of Supervisors
Residents, Are Being Lied to By Our Board of Supervisors. Our Board is Not Doing Its Job and The Residents are Being Left to Suffer.
As Election Day approaches, it’s time that we acknowledge the elephant in the living room; a Big Lie that was initiated by our current Board of Supervisors in 2017 to win the municipal election that continues to this day. The Big Lie was started by Ms. Baumann and Mr. Miller in the run-up to the election when they campaigned that they could stop the Mariner East 2 Pipeline by enforcing Ordinance 2014-06, claiming that the previous board “refused to enforce the ordinance.” Baumann and Miller made this specious claim even though our Township’s attorneys advised and several learned judges opined that a Township is not permitted to regulate siting of pipelines as that power rests with the state alone. This legal reality was repeatedly provided to residents (including Ms. Baumann) throughout 2017. Mr. Miller and Ms. Baumann claimed to know better than them all. Since Ms. Baumann and Mr. Miller are not lawyers, and have never provided a counter-argument to the opinions of the lawyers and judges, we are left to speculate that they were either so arrogant or so naive that they convinced themselves they could perpetrate a fraud on a frightened electorate. But, as we sit here today, our current Board followed its predecessor and has not acted to enforce Ordinance 2014-06.
Recently, Mr. Miller continued the Big Lie by suggesting that the only reason his Board did not file suit against Sunoco was because of the April 30, 2018, Commonwealth Court ruling in Clean Air Council vs. Sunoco, 185 A.3d 478. But, Mr. Miller’s revisionist history (and we only can comment on Mr. Miller’s statements because Ms. Baumann and Dr. Doan, the actual candidates, refuse to speak) is hogwash because the Clean Air Council opinion is only a reaffirmation of the law that everyone except for Mr. Miller and his cohorts understood was the law of the Commonwealth. Perhaps, Ms. Baumann and Mr. Miller could have campaigned suggesting they had a different way of challenging the pipeline, but that would not work for the flashy mailers funded by the outside interest groups they were sending to voters. They knew that statements like:
worked better in campaign literature, than “Toner and Fraim should not follow the legal advice of the Township’s lawyers.” No, Ms. Baumann and Mr. Miller and their deep pockets had to manufacture the lie that the 2017 Board was doing something wrong so that it could use mailers like:
If Ms. Baumann and Mr. Miller had admitted their opponents were following the law and the advice of legal counsel, that would not be enough to get two inexperienced liberal Democrats elected in our Township. No, they had to go all-in and suggest that their opponents were either scared -- or worse -- in the pockets of Sunoco. Amazingly, even today Ms. Baumann and Mr. Miller won’t even admit that they made a mistake in telling voters that the old Board was not doing its job, they just sit quietly hoping that the voters will not realize that they never had a legitimate plan to stop the pipeline! Any statement otherwise was and is another bald-faced lie.
Sadly, the candidates’ deception was cemented in the fall of 2017. Liberal fringe groups came into Uwchlan Township with flashy mailers and an army of college-aged door knockers, which were able to hide from the voters that the 2017 Board had the only realistic strategy for standing up to Sunoco. Baumann, Miller and their legion of hired minions manipulated the public to ignore that the 2017 Board was providing responsible leadership. The 2017 Board had worked with members of the Uwchlan Safety Coalition to draft a Resolution that served as the platform for protecting citizens and obtaining some relief. The 2017 Board spent hours turning and enhancing the Uwchlan Safety Coalition’s “Homeowner Bill of Rights” into a municipal Resolution that was the first step to several ordinances intended to protect homeowners and to dissuade pipeline owners from future construction.
In August 2017, Uwchlan Township passed Resolution 2017-25, a multipronged vision intended to give protections and rights to Uwchlan homeowners. Governmental leaders and pipeline advocates heralded Uwchlan Township’s efforts.
State legislators and the Chester County Association of Township Officials (CCATO) began holding meetings and strategy sessions to bring Resolution 2017-25 to Harrisburg and their local municipalities. But then Ms. Baumann’s and Mr. Miller’s subterfuge had its intended effect. The voters, understandably upset with the pipeline, believed Ms. Baumann’s and Mr. Miller’s mailers and took a chance on them.
The voters did not understand that changing course in November 2017 would have such a detrimental effect on the well-being of those suffering from the pipeline. And the Big Lie continued. In January 2018, Ms. Baumann and Mr. Miller terminated activities on Resolution 2017-25, obviously understanding that if they continued with Resolution 2017-25, citizens would soon understand that their statements that the former Board did not oppose Sunoco were lies. And with the abandonment of Resolution 2017-25 the lie continued and the possibility of real relief from these pipelines died.
Today, residents in Marchwood are again experiencing vibrations, fumes, and undue noise and residents are starting to ask, “what has our Board done over the past 2 years?”. We are not saying everything today would be perfect had our Board continued implementing.
However, Resolution 2017-25 started the process of instituting ordinances that would:
Put limitations on vibrations emanating from pipeline construction
Require structural analysis of all building foundations, swimming pools and other structures within 500 feet of the excavation or drilling area before commencement of construction with the final report given to the homeowner and Township;
Require analysis of wells within 500 feet of an excavation area before and during construction with the final report given to the homeowner and Township
Enhance noise ordinances;
Require utilities to replace all trees taken down or damaged as part of its construction;
Require the contractors to secure temporary living accommodations for those affected by their work;
Prohibit cutting and directional drilling for 5 years from the date of new street construction or paving and 20 years from the date of any completion of any project by the utility of the same category;
Require the utility to provide the Township with telephone numbers and email addresses that are monitored 24 hours for communication from the Township
Require the utility to compensate a Township employee or contractor for acting as a liaison between the Township and utility;
Prohibit the construction of new buildings within 1000 feet of a utility easement
Prohibit construction of new or replacement utility facilities used for the storage or conveyance of hazardous volatile liquids within 1000 feet of residential structures schools are places of worship;
Encourage new laws that would require utilities to pay homeowners for decreases in the fair market value of properties;
Plus, many other protections for local homeowners that would make life near the pipeline more bearable.
If Ms. Baumann, Dr. Doan, and Mr. Miller had not thought of their political positions in January 2018 and had responsibly continued implementation of Resolution 2017-25, perhaps some of the problems experienced today would have been avoided or reduced. At the very least, Sunoco and the other pipeline companies whose lines transect our Township would be on notice that extra precautions and enhanced planning were required in our Township. But, Ms. Baumann, Dr. Doan, and Mr. Miller wasted the last two years by doing nothing more than writing a few letters and filing a PUC complaint. Just like every other municipality has done.
Ms. Baumann, Dr. Doan, and Mr. Miller would rather have the pipeline issue to complain about (they must think the Township still believes they want to do something about the pipeline) and spend their time focusing on installing an electric charging station. I guess they believe that the next time a homeowner experiences the noise and vibration from pipeline construction, the homeowner will think, “well at least they got me a place to charge a car.”
The Area 25 Republican Committee has conferred with its two candidates for Supervisor (Ms. Forcine-Dunghe and Mr. Thigpen), and both agree that Uwchlan residents deserve more from its leaders than pictures of them walking the pipeline or saying how much they want to “defend what we love.” Words are cheap, and while these pictures and statements might make Ms. Baumann, Dr. Doan, and Mr. Miller feel better, they do nothing to improve the situation.
Ms. Forcine-Dunghe and Mr. Thigpen have committed to reinstituting Resolution 2017-25 upon their assuming office in January 2020. They have pledged to do whatever the law allows to 1) lessen the current effects of the pipeline and 2) put in protections from future pipeline construction.
Ms. Baumann, Dr. Doan, and Mr. Miller were given a gift, a roadmap, for making the pipeline construction safer and a bit more bearable, but they sat on their hands and did nothing. Ms. Baumann, Dr. Doan, and Mr. Miller either don’t care or don’t know how to stand up to Sunoco for our residents. And that, Residents, is the BIG LIE, Ms. Baumann, Dr. Doan, and Mr. Miller are not what is best for Uwchlan Township. It is now time to replace Ms. Baumann and Dr. Doan with responsible leadership that will tell residents the truth.
Ms. Baumann and Dr. Doan came to power with a lie; they must now leave office because of the truth.