MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and the state Board of Public Works have denied an easement for the Potomac Pipeline connecting a Pennsylvania gas line to West Virginia.
TransCanada subsidiary Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC previously requested an easement for an 8 inch, 3.37 mile fracked gas line from Fulton County, Pennsylvania into Morgan County, West Virginia. Known as the Potomac Pipeline, this would connect an existing line in Pennsylvania to the Mountaineer Gas line from the Berkeley Springs area through Martinsburg.
This line would eventually extend into Jefferson County and some of it would serve the controversial Rockwool insulation plant in Ranson. The West Virginia Public Service Commission approved a $119.8 million plan for that extension in December.
In a letter dated January 1 and addressed to the Maryland Board of Public Works, a group of 65 Maryland delegates and senators expressed concern over the Potomac Pipeline. The effort was a two year campaign spearheaded by environmental advocates Potomac Riverkeeper Network.
“The construction and operation of the Potomac Pipeline would impact at least 10 wetlands and 19 streams, in addition to the Potomac River,” the letter reads. “The pipeline right-of-way includes a Potomac River crossing the C&O Canal and the Maryland Rail Trail. In addition to violating the spirit of our renewable energy portfolio and fracking ban, the TransCanada pipeline also directly endangers public health.”
Gov. Hogan signed a bill banning fracking in Maryland in April of 2017.
On Wednesday, The Board of Public Works voted against TransCanada’s pipeline easement 3-0. The vote consisted of board members Gov. Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp.
“This is a stunning but wonderful development,” said Upper Potomac Riverkeeper Brent Walls. “This pipeline is unnecessary and dangerous. It threatens the drinking water source for six million residents in this area, would deliver fracked natural gas not produced in Maryland and not to be used in Maryland.”
Rockwool Representative Michael Zarin released a statement to MetroNews affiliate WEPM Thursday appearing to not be too concerned about the vote.
“We remain confident that Mountaineer Gas will be able to meet our needs when the facility is up and running.”
Rockwool officials hope to have the plant operational in 2020.