Columbia Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of TransCanada, submitted an application to the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) to construct an 8-inch natural gas distribution line through the western part of Washington County. The TransCanada pipeline will bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania, under the Potomac River, to be the supply line of the proposed Mountaineer Gas pipeline. The Mountaineer Gas pipeline is scheduled to be routed east through Morgan County, Berkeley County and into Jefferson County, WV.
The planned route for both pipelines will pass through the sensitive karst geology of Washington County and the Eastern Panhandle. Karst geology allows surface water to easily flow into our groundwater, which can transmit pollutants much faster into residential well water. “There is a high potential of groundwater contamination if a pipeline weld were to rupture under a Karst stream like Back Creek,” says Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, Brent Walls. “There is also a safety hazard since karst geology can erode faster around the drilled pipeline hole creating caverns that may weaken or stress the pipeline,” continues Brent.
Because of the environmental concerns, public safety and property taking through eminent domain, there is growing public opposition to both pipelines in West Virginia and Maryland. Over 100 protestors demonstrated their opposition during a TransCanada open house in Hancock on February 9th, 2017. “In reviewing the 1500 pages of the application, it seems having public support is an important factor in the application, but TransCanada has lied and claimed that their outreach efforts have been well received by land owners and stakeholders,” says Walls.
The application to FERC begins the process where the public can review the details and submit comments on the pipeline project. The application also outlines other permits that are required for the project to move forward, each having a separate public process. To learn more about the pipeline and to find out how to help, join Upper Potomac Riverkeeper and the Eastern Panhandle Protectors for a community meeting in opposition to the pipelines on April 6th, from 6:30 to 8:30 at the James Rumsey Technical Institute near Hedgesville, WV.
For media inquiries, please contact Brent Walls at Brent(at)potomacriverkeeper.org or call 443-480-8970.