Your Chance to Speak Up Against Pipelines Under the Potomac

Photo by Tusik Only

On March 15th, 2017, TransCanada filed their application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to run a natural gas pipeline under the Potomac River. It originates in Pennsylvania, runs through Maryland west of Hancock, and terminated in Morgan County, West Virginia. It offers nothing to Maryland, yet Maryland’s natural resources would be put at risk. And it is part of a plan for yet another pipeline: the TransCanada pipeline would be the supply line for another proposed pipeline with Mountaineer Gas.

FERC is accepting comments from individuals until April 19th. We need your help in submitting comments against the TransCanada pipeline.

The following is the step-by-step process for submitting comments, followed by bullet points of issues. There is also link to an example of comments already submitted to FERC.

Step 1: Click on this link:

Once there, fill out the forms with your name, address and email. Once submitted, FERC will send you an email with a link to submit your comments.

Step 2: Watch you inbox for the email from FERC and click on the link in the email.

Enter the docket number CP17-80 in the space provided then click on the search button.

Step 3: Click the “Select” button next to the docket file.

Step 4: In a Word document, type out your comments. Use this example comment letter and add in your own concerns with the pipeline. In your letter, please request that a full Environmental Review be conducted by FERC, to include an Environmental Impact Statement over the combined pipeline projects of TransCanada and Mountaineer Gas.

Additional points to consider including are listed below.

Step 5: Copy and paste the text in your Word document into the comment space on the FERC website that you completed in Step 3. Then press Submit.

You will receive a confirmation email that your comment was submitted. Pat yourself on the back for overcoming an unnecessarily complicated bureaucratic hassle that seems like it was designed to limit public comment. Because, let’s face it, there must be an easier way.

Topics of concern to consider including in your comments:

  • The pipeline will impact sensitive Karst geology that could transmit pollutants through a connected underground aquifer and degrade pristine streams or threaten public and private water supplies.
  • Using hydraulic directional drilling under streams in Karst geology will create pathways for water to drain down the bore holes and dissolve the limestone around the piping. This can create sink holes and caverns that will impact the integrity of the pipeline, causing subterranean ruptures and possible explosions.
  • Landmen from TransCanada and Mountaineer Gas are using scare tactics to persuade landowners in signing contracts by claiming the use of eminent domain, which will reduce their ability to get adequate compensation.
  • The TransCanada application has no justification or evidence that substantiates a “need” for natural gas in the Eastern Panhandle.
  • The pipeline threatens the tourism potential of the National Parks C&O Canal because of the high potential for directional drilling “blow outs”. This kind of damage could be irreversible on the historic nature of the Park.

Thank you very much for taking the time to have your voice heard. Those who stand to profit from the pipeline are voicing their opinions. We must do the same.