Conestoga Supervisors Must Take Stand Against “The Stand”

Jennifer Fischer
Lancaster County Resident

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Rural, beautiful Conestoga Township, Pennsylvania, located in southern Lancaster County, has the unfortunate potential of being ground zero for what could become out-of-control, DAPL-like protests against Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project.

Over the past several months, opponents of Atlantic Sunrise, which is proposed to connect much needed natural gas from the northern Marcellus to Williams’ existing Transco pipeline in Lancaster County, have been organizing an effort to disrupt the pipeline’s construction. A landowner in Conestoga Township, whose property will be crossed by Atlantic Sunrise, is allowing their farmland to serve as an encampment area for project opponents who hope to attract thousands of protesters to assemble in opposition to the project.

Protesters have even erected a tall wooden structure, which they dub “The Stand,” to represent their “stand” against Atlantic Sunrise. They plan to allow access to the farm to thousands of unknown people, coming from anywhere and everywhere, to protest Williams’ project. In fact, environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, claim “The Stand” will serve as a DAPL-like protest event. It’s exactly what we don’t need in Lancaster County.

Conestoga

Weekend campout at “The Stand” – where’s the permit?

DAPL, of course, is the Dakota Access Pipeline, which experienced tens of thousands of transient, and often hostile, protesters who assembled in North Dakota for several months in opposition to Energy Transfer’s pipeline construction. Reports and images from the DAPL protest showed abandoned cars and piles of tires intentionally set on fire, dumpsters overflowing with trash, mounds of debris and human waste, and motor oil, and even dogs left stranded behind to fend for themselves. The DAPL protest is estimated to have cost taxpayers at least $38 million and the environmental impacts of the protest will take years to overcome, if ever.

Focusing on Conestoga Township and “The Stand,” the idea that thousands of transient people — some of which are paid anarchists — will be invited to camp and live on a farm, for an unknown period of time, should cause tremendous anxiety and fear for residents of Conestoga and all of Lancaster County. Who are these people? Where will they come from and what are their intentions? Will they bring the same level of anarchy and destruction to the encampment in Conestoga and to the surrounding area as they did to the encampment in Standing Rock?

Conestoga

Imagine a field full of this.

I truly believe it was this sense of concern that prompted the Zoning Officer for Conestoga Township to work to enforce the zoning laws that the township has in place. You see, what those at “The Stand” may not realize is that there are more than 3,700 residents in Conestoga Township and more than 500,000 residents in Lancaster County that may not share in the same vision for chaos and disruption.

This very situation is exactly why local municipalities in Pennsylvania have zoning laws, to allow for lawful activity while protecting public safety and maintaining law and order. My understanding of the Conestoga zoning laws is that the property in question is zoned for agricultural use, and the last time I checked, anti-pipeline encampments, mass gatherings and protest training do not qualify as an agricultural use.

The Stand structure itself, built to serve as an elevated dwelling, is also a direct violation of several zoning and local, state and federal building codes. No one in Pennsylvania I know can so much as build a backyard deck or shed without some type of local permit. Why? To protect the health and safety of other residents.

Conestoga

“The Stand”

The pipeline protesters believe it is within their rights to build whatever structure they like and invite whoever they want to gather and live on this farm, when in reality there are many laws and restrictions which they directly violate.

As a resident of Lancaster County, I am deeply concerned “The Stand” will give way to unbridled chaos, destruction and unrest that will shed a negative light on my home on the national news every night for weeks, months or even years. For the health and safety of residents, and for the national reputation and future of Lancaster County, I encourage my fellow neighbors to make their own stand and fight to block this protest from happening and  I strongly encourage Conestoga Township to enforce their existing zoning laws to prevent this unpermitted, unsafe and unhealthy activity from spiraling out of control into something that cannot be reversed.

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21 thoughts on “Conestoga Supervisors Must Take Stand Against “The Stand”

  1. Is Karenna Gore camped out yet or gotten herself arrested in the pipeline construction ditch like with the Spectra project? Has anyone been arrested yet? The resistance follows a pattern and has for years now.

  2. MY FAMILY AND MY HUSBAND CAME BACK TO LANCASTER COUNTY TO START LANCASTER FARMLAND TRUST AS IT’S 1ST FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. HIS FAMILY WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF NEW HOLLAND PENNSYLVANIA IN THE EARLY 1700s. THE LAND IS NOT
    OURS, WE ARE ONLY HOPEFULLY STEWART’S FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS, MY CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN AND YOURS. PEOPLE, FARMERS ENTERED A SACRED TRUST, A COVENANT TO SAVE AND PROTECT THEIR FARMS. DO YOU REALLY WANT THE TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA GAS AND OIL BOYS TO DESTROY OUR FARMLAND AND NATURAL PRESERVES! FRACKING ADDS 600 TOXIC CHEMICALS TO THE BLASTING WATER INCLUDING CANCER CAUSING BENZENE. WATCH THE MOVIE GASLANDS AND THEN TALK TO ME!! BOTH MARYLAND AND NEW YORK STATES HAVE BANNED FRACKING, DOESN’T THAT TELL YOU SOMETHING!! EVERY PENNSYLVANIA CITIZEN HAS THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO CLEAN AND SAFE WATER. I WOULD REALLY BE INTERESTED TO KNOW WHO YOU REPRESENT AND WHAT CHURCH YOU GO TO. JOANNE DUBOIS MUSSELMAN FOUNDER PENNSYLVANIANS AGAINST FRACKING

    • Typing in caps does not make your words true.

      There is no fracking going on in Lancaster county. It is a pipeline. Stopping a pipeline doesn’t stop fracking. The gas will just move another, less environmentally friendly way.

      If you honestly want to stop fracking, you have to stop the demand for natural gas. Gasland and the eco terrorist groups that have convinced people your lies above are true have made absolutely no effort to help people conserve or cut back on energy use or the use of petro chemical based products. That is not their goal. Their goal is to make money by scaring people like you into believing that only evil people support clean affordable and reliable energy. They make a lot of money when you pay to watch the movie or click on their websites.

      As to who I represent, I represent no one. I do not now and never have worked for the gas industry or made money from a well. I live in north east PA, where Gasland was supposedly based. I can see with my own eyes that fracking does not and will not cause environmental damage.

      As to my church, I have no idea why that is even relevant unless you are trying to say that God loves only the people that type in caps.

    • As a “steward” of the country’s valuable resources, could you kindly direct us to where in the US Constitution it states that we have a “constitutional right” to “clean air and water”? While I agree that we all should protect our resources and use the best technology available to properly treat our wastewater and curb our emissions, that same technology depends on the availability of energy resources such as natural gas. I am willing to wager that your electronic device or anything you use to live comfortably is somewhat connected to a petroleum-based product.

      • Challenge Accepted:
        “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

        http://www.ejnet.org/chester/act13.html

  3. And you call yourself a Lancaster county resident . How about the pipeline goes through your pretty little yard ?

  4. Jennifer your comments are mistruths and lies and border on libel. We don’t expect or need thousands of “anarchists” to achieve victory. Indeed we have asked some to leave already because they were not a good fit. We are totally within the letter of the law with regards to the structure in Conestoga Township and our chapel structure in West Hempfield. Go ahead. Cite the violation of which we are guilty. How about the zoning officer who got permission to have his Boy Scout troop camp on land without having to pay the $500.00 we had to? We were keeping names and facts in our back pocket. Shall we make them public? How about the zoning officer who placed the condemnation notices on the barn. She sits on the board of an organization in Lancaater County charged with protecting our waterways that accepted almost $300,000.00 in grants from Williams. This money is going to a coalition of groups who will also benefit from the work that will have to be done to fix whatever Williams mucks up. Sound corrupt to me. Jennifer would you like names and a numbing amount of details? We have them.
    It’s comforting to read your blog. It shows us that Williams is scared to death of what we are doing. You should however
    Be careful when taking lids off of worm cans. You never know exactly what’s in there.

  5. “I” am one of those transients.
    “I” protest to protect the beauty of this land.
    “I” protest for the right to clean water.
    “I” am not paid by anyone to do this.
    “I” Have a full-time job and give up my weekends and vacation to protect our land and rights.
    “I” Have every right to speak up according to my founding fathers.
    “I” am an invited guest.
    “I” am supposed to be protected by the constitution’s 1st amendment.
    “I” have never seen the promised benefits of eminent domain.
    “I” am certainly not an Anarchist.
    “I” come in peace.

    “Pipelines” steal land from the people who protect it. “Pipelines” destroy our drinking water.
    “Pipelines” hire “Paid” mercenaries from Iraq to fight against the people.
    “Pipelines” pay people to write articles like this.

    “We the People” are still in jail over proven false stories from the DAPL situation.
    “We the People” Have lost limbs and eyes defending our lands.
    “We the People” Have often sacrificed our lives to defend this land.

    “unbridled chaos, destruction and unrest” was an outrageous thought in Lancaster County before
    “Pipelines” were threatening to steal our land, poison our water, destroy our constitutional rights and start a class war against US Citizens.

    “We the people” Will not be deterred by bullshit propaganda like this.

    North Dakota may have been easy for most to accept when it was nNative Americans because we have a history of overlooking the destruction of natives and this land.

    But will you still feel the same when when you see military mercenaries hired by our government fighting White Amish Christians with Assault Rifles, Percussion Grenades, Water Cannons and brutal force?

    While we the people stand strong with only one weapon.

    OUR VOICE!

  6. No Need To Worry Dear…Local Authorities Have met with additional security and have multiple plans to contain…control and quail any tendencies these ECO terrorists may attempt to utilize in their Lil insurrection…highly trained professionals will ensure local residents safety…very simply…Im of the opinion they are more bark than bite…all the blockades are futile as dozers will simply mow them over and offer lots of free kindling…not to mention…key commonwealth representatives will hold them financially responsible…further deterring their commitment…basicly they are grasping at straws for empathy and media attention in their futile efforts…if you still have much concern…exercise your second amendment rights and if you feel threatened…utiize them…
    They very frankly are a bunch of hippie wannabes that pose no threat despite their condoning of standing rock riots…I assure you…commonwealth will not tolerate this and its citizens will voluntarily ensure this…
    Bunch of hot air for attention…
    Don’t lose sleep over these miniscule agitators…

  7. I agree with Joanne! Also The Stand is following zoning rules and regulations. As a Lancaster County resident I am proud to have this protest fighting for the rights of individuals and our environment over bullying corporations. This author does not represent the ideals of Lancaster County, imho.

  8. Jennifer Fischer, you are not interested in facts, are you? The private security set those vehicles on fire, which you would know if you paid attention to current news. There were some paid organizers, I think, such as the employees of the tribe and some tribal organizations, but mostly the people who went out the SR were the most committed protectors of the earth that we have ever seen.
    If that pipeline ran through your yard, I bet you would feel differently. Keep checking your water quality. The water protectors might be your only line of defense.

  9. Please research the facts before you believe this corporate propaganda. This methane will be shipped overseas. Just a small percentage will be used here. Just enough to make it a public utilitie which allows them to steel people’s land and claim eminent domain. Please get the facts and don’t just believe this corporate propaganda.

    • Even if that is the case, which source of NG would you prefer most of Europe pay for and use, the USA or the former Soviet Union?

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