Top Maryland Officials Vote Down Proposed TransCanada Pipeline

It would have transported natural gas from Pa. To WV through western Md.


Annapolis, Md (KM) The Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday denied an easement on state land in western Maryland for a natural gas pipeline. The line proposed by TransCanada would transport the gas from Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC in Pennsylvania–a subsidiary of TransCanada–to a proposed plant in Jefferson County, West Virginia. The fracked gas would pass under the Potomac River near Hancock, Md.

The Board, which consists of the Governor, State Comptroller and State Treasurer, cited concerns for the environment in their decision. Comptroller Peter Franchot said the pipeline could bring environmental problems to Maryland without any economic benefits.

“We were shocked that it was a three-and-oh decision and really overjoyed,” said Brooke Harper, Maryland Policy Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, which has worked to oppose the project. “It’s been a long two-year campaign where we’ve mobilized hundreds across Maryland and West Virginia against this pipeline.”

Harper says she was “shocked” that Governor Larry Hogan voted against the easement. “We’ve implored to him for months. We surrounded his house back in April to call him to get MDE to deny the pipeline,” she said, referring to the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Governor Hogan, who signed a bill in 2017 to ban fracking, said after Wednesday’s meeting that it “always going to be a 3-0 vote,” according to the Baltimore Sun.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources conducted an environmental  review of the proposed easement, but took no position on it..

Harper said this project is bad for Maryland. “We didn’t want to deal with the risk to our water, to our communities, and to our health and to our climate. And projects like the Potomac Pipeline exacerbate climate change and keep us locked into dirty fossil fuels for years to come. And endanger Washington County’s water, along with the other millions of folks who get their water from the Potomac River,” she said.

Despite the vote Wednesday by the Board of Public Works, this project is not dead, she says. “There also is an outstanding National Park Service right-of-way that needs to be given. They’ve not made a decision. They’re still weighing all of the information and the input that we as activists and other agencies have given them,” says Harper.

The pipeline would pass under the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

Other environmental groups say this case could  end up in the courts.


By Kevin McManus