Potomac Riverkeeper Network Comments on Federal Environmental Review of Potomac Pipeline

Washington, DC – February 27 – Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) submitted its comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Potomac Pipeline today and called out the agency for a variety of failures of analysis, including outdated methodologies, reliance on inaccurate or unsupported facts, and unwarranted conclusions.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 now we have continued to voice 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. What we have seen is a pattern of reluctance from those authorities to hear our concerns and to fully assess this pipeline project in its entirety,” said Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper.  “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.”

PRKN’s comments were extensive and detailed, but some of the highlights were:

  • 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  • The EA, by using methodologies which are outdated or based on inaccurate facts, fail to adequately consider impacts on climate change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.

“FERC has a duty to prepare its environmental assessments in accordance with law, and with common sense,” said Phillip Musegaas, PRKN’s Vice President of Programs and Litigation.  “And the reason they must do so is that they are there to protect our citizens, not rubberstamp a project for TransCanada.  Our comments show, beyond any doubt, that they are shirking their responsibilities.”

About Potomac Riverkeeper Network

Potomac Riverkeeper Network is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with three regional Waterkeeper branches: Potomac Riverkeeper, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper and Shenandoah Riverkeeper. Our mission is to protect the public’s right to clean water in our rivers and streams. We stop pollution to promote safe drinking water, protect healthy habitats, and enhance public use and enjoyment.

Read the comments here.

For more information, visit http://www.potomacriverkeepernetwork.org.