On Jan. 2, the Maryland Board of Public Works denied a land-easement approval for a proposed gas pipeline in the state.
In a unanimous 3-0 vote, the Board, which consists of Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), and state Treasurer Nancy Kopp (D), made the decision on the project by TransCanada.
“This is a stunning but wonderful development,” said Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper. “This pipeline is unnecessary and dangerous. It threatens the drinking water source for six-million residents in this area, would deliver fracked natural gas not produced in Maryland and not to be used in Maryland, and would be the primary energy source for the controversial Rockwool USA insulation plant in West Virginia.”
Columbia Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of TransCanada, sought approval for a 50-ft.-wide easement to install and national gas-transmission pipeline under the Western Maryland Rail/Trail, a project previously approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The 3.37-mi, 8-in, pipeline would connect two existing lines in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia as part of a 12,000-mile network spanning Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky and is expected to carry 3,000,000,000-cubic feet of natural gas per day.
“Today’s vote denying our easement request is unfortunate,” TransCanada spokesman Scott Castleman said. “That being said, it does not change the need for, or the company’s commitment to, our Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project. It remains critical for West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle and the surrounding region, and will provide much-needed additional natural gas supplies for continued business and economic development.”
TransCanada also oversees numerous pipelines that stretch across the nation as well as Canada including the controversial Keystone Access Pipeline which is proposed to start in Alberta and travel south to Texas.
The Keystone, along with the completed Dakota Access Pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners and stretching between North Dakota and southeast to Illinois, attracted numerous protests from environmental groups.
Before the Jan 2. decision, 62 lawmakers across Maryland sent a letter to the Board of Public Works requesting a denial for the easement.
The letter cites potential impact to 10 wetlands and 19 streams as well as the Potomac River. It further said the casement would defy the state’s energy policy as well as the fracking ban, signed by Hogan in April. 2017, and violates the spirit of the renewable energy portfolio.
Twenty-four of Montgomery County’s 32-member Maryland Legislative delegation signed on to the letter, initiated by Del. David Moon.
Sen. Craig Zucker, Sen. Cheryl Kagan, Sen. Nancy King, Del. Ann Kaiser, Del. Ariana Kelly, Del. Marc Korman, and Del. Kirill Reznik are among those who did not sign the letter.
Note: this story was corrected to reflect the status and ownership of the Dakota Access Pipeline.