Sunday 22 April 2018

Press Statements (62)

Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Potomac Riverkeeper Network and other partners submitted comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Environmental Assessment (EA) of TransCanada’s proposed fracked gas pipeline under the Potomac River. Our comments call out the agency for a variety of failures of analysis, including outdated methodologies, reliance on inaccurate or unsupported facts, and unwarranted conclusions. For over a year, we have joined our No Potomac Pipeline coalition partners in voicing our concerns to State and Federal authorities over the serious threats this pipeline has on the Potomac River, the drinking water for 6 million people. There has been a pattern of reluctance from those authorities to hear our concerns and to fully assess this pipeline project in its entirety. Comments filed are extensive and detailed, but some of the highlights are: FERC failed to properly evaluate the serious risk and potential impacts on public health and safety posed by horizontal directional drilling under the Potomac River and C & O Canal The EA, by using methodologies which are outdated or based on inaccurate facts, fail to adequately consider impacts on climate change The EA does not adequately discuss all reasonable alternatives, including an option that would attach the pipeline to a bridge over the Potomac instead of drilling underneath the river. It is unfortunate that FERC continues to disregard the threats to our environment from pipeline companies like TransCanada, rather than assess the true costs and recognize the impacts to our citizens and neighbors. Our comments show that FERC has failed its…
Proposed 90% Cut Ignores Overwhelming Bipartisan Support of Program (Monday, Febraury 12, 2018) President Trump’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019 essentially eliminates federal funding for the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest program to restore a body of water in U.S. history, just as the effort reaches its halfway point. The budget recommends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program budget be slashed from its current allocation of $73 million to just $7.3 million – an exact 90 percent cut to current funding. These funds would only be designated for monitoring and would effectively shutdown all other aspects of the restoration effort.  “By slashing the Chesapeake Bay Program funding, the president is giving polluters a green light to destroy the United States’ largest estuary and its already-imperiled tributaries,” said Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director of Waterkeepers Chesaeake. “The multi-state restoration work of the Bay and our rivers and streams is just beginning to pay dividends in the form of cleaner water and restored habitat. We can’t reverse course.” A multi-state, federally supported program is the only way to restore the Chesapeake Bay, because the tributaries to the Bay cross state boundaries and provide clean drinking water to millions. In addition, the Bay is the economic engine for the region, providing an estimated one trillion-dollar value in fisheries, shipping, tourism, and other industries. The president’s proposed budget is a direct attack on our rights to clean water and air. In addition to gutting the Bay Program, it calls for a 34 percent…
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…