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CHESTER COUNTY (CBS) — A pipeline worker in Chester County has come under fire for an “incredibly offensive” response to a woman on Instagram, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday. The worker replied to a resident’s Instagram post about the Mariner East pipeline, saying, “if my weld was bad I hope it’s in your backyard so I can watch your house burn down on the news.”
The pipelines in the county have drawn strong opposition, according to the DA’s office. A criminal investigation was opened in December after pipelines drew blame for causing sinkholes and polluting drinking water and waterways.
That same month, a concerned resident posted on Instagram, and a worker using the handle “x_rated_fusion” commented, “You are a (R-word) … get a new hobby ya (expletive).”
The woman responded by asking about safety practices on the pipeline.
The worker then replied with, “but if my weld was bad I hope it’s in your backyard so I can watch your house burn down on the news. Thanks for the 100,000.00 summer.”
The worker was apparently referencing how much money he made working on the pipeline, the DA’s office says.
In September 2018, a pipeline in Beaver County exploded and burned down a house.
“This sort of language and behavior is inappropriate and unprofessional,” District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement. “Calling a woman that particular word is incredibly offensive, even if you spell in incorrectly.
“Calling anybody the ‘R’ Word is unacceptable. We will not allow our citizens to be bullied. I have raised the issue with Sunoco, as well as the pipeline worker’s union leaders in Texas and Oklahoma.”
The Chester County resident’s name is being withheld because she fears potential retaliation. She lives with her children near the pipeline.
Hogan says the woman was extremely disturbed by the nature and tone of the posts, causing her to report them to the DA.
Hogan has spoken with union leaders — business manager Danny Hendrix in Oklahoma and union organizer Ronne Hill in Texas — about the incident.
“I had very cordial but pointed conversations with Mr. Hendrix and Mr. Hill,” Hogan said. “They both agreed that the comments were totally inappropriate. I requested that they address the individual worker, and also advise all pipeline workers to avoid any such communications with our citizens. I made the same request to Sunoco.”