In March, Maryland became the third state to ban fracking statewide. But the threat from fracked gas still looms over western Maryland. Natural gas infrastructure poses a threat to the surrounding environment and communities, just as the actual process of fracking does. Although the fracking ban was a huge step to protect the state from the threat of fossil fuels, Marylanders won’t be completely safe until Governor Hogan puts a stop to all fracking infrastructure projects.
TransCanada, the same corporation responsible for the Keystone Pipeline, has proposed another pipeline known as the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project. This pipeline would connect a TransCanada pipeline in Pennsylvania to a Mountaineer Gas line in West Virginia. As a result, this pipeline would travel through western Maryland just west of Hancock before traveling under the Potomac River. The proposed pipeline would be detrimental to protected national parkland and natural environments, not to mention individual private property rights. It would also endanger the over 6 million people living downstream that rely on the Potomac as their primary drinking water source.
On June 30th, a coalition of environmental groups held a press conference at McCoy Campgrounds, located along the Potomac River in Clear Spring, Maryland to protest the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project. Members and supporters of the coalition expressed solidarity with folks from across Maryland and West Virginia who will be forced to live with the negative consequences of the pipeline. Protesters and speakers called on Governor Hogan to build on his support for the fracking ban by rejecting pipelines and putting an end to all fracking expansion projects.
Governor Hogan has the authority under the federal Clean Water Act to deny the pipeline a necessary permit, without which the project cannot be completed.
The coalition will continue to support the protest against the pipeline throughout the summer by camping out at McCoy’s Ferry campgrounds every weekend. The rolling encampment is in support of and solidarity with the many families who would be directly impacted by the threats of the pipeline.
Food & Water Watch joined residents from across Maryland the second weekend of the rolling encampment. The campground was a perfect example of the environment and community that would be affected by the disruptive construction of a pipeline beneath the river. Local campers talked about how they come to McCoy’s Ferry to enjoy the fresh air and refreshing water of the Potomac River. Their kids go swimming, families hike in the surrounding woods and everyone spends each night sleeping peacefully under the stars. Pipeline construction would completely transform the natural oasis.
Campers joined Food & Water Watch in urging Governor Hogan to reject the Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project. You can help too. Dial: 855-969-5613 Say: "Hi my name is _____ and I am calling as a constituent to ask Governor Hogan to reject the pipeline under the Potomac." And fill out the form below!
Julia Potter is a summer intern at Food & Water Watch