Saturday 20 April 2019

Waterkeepers Call on Hogan Administration to Protect Potomac River from Fracked Gas Pipeline

Waterkeepers Chesapeake, representing 19 Riverkeepers, Waterkeepers and Coastkeepers across the Chesapeake Bay region, are concerned about the health of the Potomac River watershed, which provides drinking water for millions – and could be jeopardized by the construction and operation of the Potomac Pipeline. We are joining 17 other groups calling for the Maryland Department of the Environment to respond to our concerns, be transparent in their permitting process, and take adequate protective measures with regard to the Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project.

For the past nine months, we've been misled by MDE with inconsistent and conflicting messages on how the Potomac Pipeline would be regulated. We have explained, through every means possible, our concerns and recommended actions, and we have been ignored.

While we have conveyed the serious impacts associated with this fracked gas pipeline – MDE has made the decision to have this project fall under the broader General Permit.

This is a problem because the General Permit does not look at important indirect impacts to water quality, such as erosion and sediment from tree clearing, impacts to drinking water resources, and impacts to karst geology. Furthermore, this permit, approved in 2016, only applies to projects that have minimal adverse environmental effects. With a pipeline that could lead to contaminated drinking water aquifers, methane leakage, and impaired aquatic habitats – and is mutually dependent on the Mountaineer Gas Pipeline project in West Virginia, a new forty two mile gas pipeline proposal that relies on this project to provide the natural gas supply – it’s safe to say the impacts from this project will be far from “minimal.”

Because MDE has failed to take adequate measures to protect our water resources, and because we have pursued every avenue possible to raise MDE’s awareness of these concerns, we are joining other groups in boycotting the MDE's second hearing on Monday, Janaury 22.

Given the fact that Maryland, under Governor Hogan’s leadership, was the first state to legislatively ban fracking, thousands of citizens across the region are justifiably concerned that allowing a pipeline carrying fracked gas to be built across Maryland presents unacceptable risks and is contrary to the public interest.

We are calling on MDE to use it’s 401 water quality certification authority and deny this pipeline – in the name of protecting Maryland’s precious waterways and the region’s drinking water supplies.

You can take action and submit comments by January 25th => CLICK HERE