Sample Letter from Individual re FERC Docket #CP17-80: TransCanada Pipeline

Docket # CP17-80

Dear Commissioners,

My name is Brent Walls and I am a resident of Washington County, MD. I am registering a complaint against the proposed pipeline by Columbia Gas, a subsidiary of TransCanada. This pipeline is proposed to run through Maryland west of Hancock. I am concerned about the pipeline based on the following points:

  • I own a farm that has had significant water contamination issues as a result of the surrounding geology of limestone or Karst. The pipeline is proposed to route through known sensitive geology that easily transmits pollution from the surface or shallow subsurface into a fast moving aquifer system that directly links with public and private wells for drinking. The Karst geology also has the potential to cause degradation to a number of sensitive pristine streams in Maryland and impact a sensitive area of the Potomac River. The karst geology can transmit methane as a pollutant into these streams and drinking wells that not only could cause contamination issues, but also pose a safety hazard to stream environments and residential dwellings. Similarly, the method of Hydraulic Directional Drilling under these sensitive rivers through karst geology opens the potential for water to drain through the bore hole, thereby slowly dissolving the limestone that will eventually create sinkholes around the subterranean pipeline causing a safety breech that could be explosive.
  • I am also concerned that FERC is not considering the fact that the TransCanada is a supply line for the receiving proposed pipeline by Mountaineer Gas; which makes the Mountaineer Gas pipeline and the TransCanada pipeline as one project and one pipeline. Not two separate projects. One would not exist without the other. If the TransCanada pipeline is not constructed, neither would the Mountaineer Gas pipeline. Therefore; as a citizen of the area, I am requesting FERC to require a full environmental review to include an environmental Impact Statement. The combined pipelines should be considered in their combined impact to the watershed and to the actual need for the pipeline.
  • In reviewing the TransCanada application, I find that there is very limited evidence of a need for gas in the Eastern Panhandle of WV. There are no indications through communities requesting natural gas services to their local or state representatives. No evidence has been introduced that shows a desire by land owners or potential commercial proposals. One alluded to industry is the new Proctor and Gamble facility in Martinsburg. However, that facility is neither a client of TransCanada or of Mountaineer gas. To add to the confusion, this proposed distribution line neglects any potential use by residents of Maryland. It seems Maryland is being used as a pass through state with no benefits and assuming all the risks.
  • Lastly, my concern is on the tactics that seem to be used by TransCanada and their partner, Mountaineer Gas in the use of bullying techniques to force many of my friends who are landowners in West Virginia and Maryland into signing contracts without fully educating them on their rights and or purpose of this gas line. Some Landman have gone so far as to threaten the use of eminent domain to push contracts to be signed now or else receive nothing later.

I hope that the Commission takes my comments seriously as a citizen of the area.


Brent Walls