Energy. Environment. Economy.

8 protestors arrested at pipeline testing site in Lancaster County

Protestors of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline link arms before they are arrested by police for trespassing on private property in Conestoga, Pa.

Courtesy of Michelle Johnsen

Protestors of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline link arms before they are arrested by police for trespassing on private property in Conestoga, Pa.

Eight protestors were arrested Monday morning at a pipeline testing site in Lancaster County, police have confirmed. The demonstrators included local residents opposing the proposed Atlantic Sunrise project and members of a Native American tribe who claim the pipeline company is improperly drilling test bores on sacred grounds in Conestoga Township.

More from Lancaster Online, which had a reporter on the scene:

Eight of the roughly three-dozen protesters were charged with trespassing after refusing to leave when PPL, the property’s owner, said they had to.

Protesters gathered near the drilling site around 9 a.m. and walked about a quarter-mile to where workers were drilling along the Conestoga River.

The workers stopped drilling about 10 minutes after the protesters arrived at the site around 9:20 a.m.

However, drilling had resumed by about 12:25 p.m., and no protesters remained.

“Everyone was peaceful,” said Chief John Fiorill with the Southern Regional Police Department. Fiorill noted it was not the first time protestors gathered on the site owned by PPL over the last two weeks, nor does he expect it will be the last.

A Williams spokesman said the company is drilling to collect soil samples that will help determine the least-invasive construction method for its proposed Atlantic Sunrise project. The interstate pipeline would send natural gas from the Marcellus Shale southward to markets on the east coast.

The project has faced fierce opposition from people in Lancaster County who have raised concerns about how it will effect the environment, public safety and property values.

“Our immediate goal is to prevent the pipeline from going in and doing what we can in a peaceful way to protect our land,” said Brenda Sieglitz, a member of the group No Lancaster Pipeline which organized Monday’s protest.

Chief Carlos Rivera of the North Arawak Tribal Nation is arrested protesting the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Conestoga, Pa.

Courtesy of Michelle Johnsen

Chief Carlos Rivera of the North Arawak Tribal Nation is arrested protesting the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Conestoga, Pa.

Chief Carlos Rivera, a leader of the Northern Arawak Tribal Nation, was among the eight protestors arrested. According to his Facebook page, Rivera believes Williams’ drill bores are desecrating a site sacred to his tribe.

“I know there are some sensitive cultural resources out there and that’s one of the reasons we’ve been taking the steps we’ve been taking to make sure we treat those with respect,” said Williams spokesman Chris Stockton, who could not confirm whether the company is operating on a sacred Northern Arawak site.

Rivera cooperated with police officers and was released on a summary citation, Fiorill said.

However, the other seven protestors, who linked arms when officers attempted to arrest them, were charged with trespassing in the third degree and could face up to a year in jail and $250 in fines.


  • Jack Wolf

    They should be immediately released, uncharged, based on the Necessity Principle. Unless we totally decarbonize the economy post haste, everyone is in danger from fossil fuel driven climate change whether they accept that fact or not.

  • Frackit

    They should not only be arrested but should also be heavily fined!

    • kenneth weir

      People who post under an assumed name lack courage and credibility. Put your name to your comments.

    • paulroden

      Will any of the gas drillers, fossil fuel companies and electric utilities who use this fracked gas be arrested for ruining the land and water supplies? I think not. The activists who are risking arrest and jail time are taking direct action to stop this environmental and public health crime. One does not risk arrest for breaking into a burning building to save a life of the people in side. This is a similar situation. What is more important, private property and profits or environmental protection and public health? Or does money trump everything? Here is what Ronald Castille, a Republican, Conservative, Vietnam War wounded Veteran, had to say about the overturning of Article 13 removing local zoning ordinances so drillers could drill without obeying municipal zoning codes:

      “By any responsible account, the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale

      Formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the

      people, their children, and the future generations, and potentially on the

      public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal


      PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille, in his decision to overturn
      parts of Act 13 on zoning ordinances and fracking in PA December 19, 2013 So who is obeying the higher law, the protesters or the drillers and pipeline workers?

      • Corbin Holland

        they are building a pipeline not fracking… might want to do some research on what is going on instead of just shouting that fracking is bad

        • paulroden

          Pipelines and fracking are connected. Without more fracking, there is no need for more pipelines and pumping stations. If they continue to build more pipelines and pumping stations, then that calls for more fracking. We don’t need either. Don’t you see the big picture? Why are you so brainwashed and a shill for the dirty energy companies that are ripping all of us off while destroying the planet’s climate and environment?

  • David Jones

    Fighting to protect paradise!

  • hippy-do-man

    Unless you totally decarbonize yourself from fossil fuels including cars, heating, modern conveniences you are pretty much a hypocrite. Heating yourself with wood is creates more pollution and deforest our environment. What do you want, de-population of the world to 1700 AD levels? Our government could use a revision of regulations to streamline the process and make it more effective overall for oil/gas companies and also more environmentally friendly. Our government fails to understand the long range energy strategy beyond the next election cycle and work with the public, states, companies, etc. in understanding strategies to maximize our efficiencies. There is no long range strategy that looks at the big picture of our country or world and how to make it work for all of us to live in peace and harmony with each other and nature. Don’t blame the oil/gas companies, they are no different than anyone else trying to survive and live the dream…

    • paulroden

      go to
      or to
      or to , the “Drilling Down Series” in the
      New York Times at:
      ; and finally
      / After reading the evidence, the only sane, rational, compassionate and
      environmentally responsible policy decision to make is to outlaw fracking once and for all. Just like Governor Andrew Cuomo did in New York. It is “unfortunate” that Governor Elect Tom Wolf, has reached a different conclusion and wants to have “his cake and eat it too.” Could his acceptance of $273,000 in campaign contributions from the gas drilling industry have anything to do with his “unfortunate” decision?


      Fracking is too dangerous, too expensive and totally unnecessary for our energy needs. If the Germans can switch to renewable energy by 2050 all the while shutting down their nuclear power plants by 2022, so can
      we. They are not “starving and freezing in the dark” nor “wrecking their economy”, contrary to the energy industries propaganda.

      • Geno

        I went to a few of these sites you quoted. They just don’t pass the smell test at all. It’s all comes across as scare tactics from people who aren’t happy that the whole world doesn’t run on solar or wind. If even demonstrable and not just another fake, the claim of natural gas leaking into drinking water is an isolated freak occurrence. Earthquakes? really? Drilling affects the tectonic plates weighted down by miles of earth? Benzene with of course cancer. From where? It’s water. California has at least drudged out the significant water useage instead of fantasizing issues. Air pollution from the activities. They must live in a bubble with filtered air and water to make sure they don’t come into contact with any man made molecules. Oh and btw,
        the germans have and are going back to coal to make up the power that once was provided by nuclear but isn’t available from wind and solar.

        • paulroden

          Benzene is a part of the fracking fluid. It comes back up with the gas. The well casings all crack and can leak. Waste ponds leak and overflow. Trucks hauling the “produced water”, “well flow back water”, can all leak or get in accidents. Waste haulers have opened the valves and just leaked it on the road or put it down a sewer grate. Once you mix benzene with water or any of the other VOC’s you have destroyed that water forever. It can not be separated, filtered distilled to recycle. It is toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic and some of the VOC’s and chemicals are endocrine disruptors. Acts of god are not permitted. Is this the price you want to pay for the gas? Do you want your water supply destroyed and that of 15 million people in the Marcellus Shale? The DEP of PA can just fill out a form for a waste hauler and they can have their tanker truck of fracking fluid declared as having “beneficial use”. Do you want radioactive and VOC’s on your roads and highways getting into your well and aquifers? Governor Cuomo did the right thing. Now if only Governor Tom Wolf and DRBC can finally put a stop to this destructive and unnecessary drilling. In California, waste haulers have injected fracking wastes right into the aquifers. You can’t trust these drillers or waster haulers. They don’t give a damn about the environment, only the quick fast buck and the environment be damned.

      • Corbin Holland

        they are able to get rid of their nuclear fleet by 2022 because they are building coal plants

  • AlSever

    Would like to see the results of his DNA test. Local “Native American” born in Italy used to drive us nuts with his allegations of secret burial sites being disturbed. Of Course, he could not point them out as they were secret.

  • Guest

    As far as I’m concerned, EVERYONE who are opposing at a work site should be told to leave, if not, then arrested and heavily fined and jailed. Period.
    I won’t even answer any anti-gas fools here, since I’m sure they are all useless individuals.

  • Frackit

    As far as I’m concerned, EVERYONE who are opposing at a work site should be told to leave, if not, then arrested and heavily fined and jailed. Period.
    I won’t even answer any anti-gas fools here, since I’m sure they are all useless individuals.

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