CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Officials with TC Energy, the former TransCanada, indicated stalled efforts to complete a pipeline extension into the eastern panhandle have forced court action with the state of Maryland.
The dispute is over a piece of land in Maryland which is described by company officials as 100 feet long and 50 feet wide. The company needs an easement to build the pipeline through the property, but after two years of trying, the approval hasn’t been granted.
“We haven’t been able to gain access to that property, so we filed for condemnation,” said TC Energy Communications Manager Scott Castleman.
The move forces the issue into court and seeks an order from a judge to allow the easement. The filing includes a request for preliminary injunction for immediate access to the property. Castleman said the company has gone through all of the required environmental hurdles for the past two years and all have been cleared.
“We’ve received all of the environmental permits from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland DNR,” he said. “For the last two years we’ve been scrutinized and regulation agencies have determined this project can be constructed safely and that’s what we’re committed to doing.”
Although the patch of land is small, it does include some very popular and sensitive attractions like the nearby Potomac River and part of a well used rail trail. TC Energy officials say they are sensitive to the users of the land and won’t disturb any of it.
“This project in no way will impact the piece of property,” Castleman explained. “We’ll be going 100 feet below the surface allowing for recreational use of the land completely during the time of construction.”
The company intends to use horizontal drilling to install the pipeline from a distance and will not disturb the surface of the property.
They’re hoping a Maryland judge will act on their request soon and want to begin construction in 2019 in order to have it completed by next year.
“This project is vitally important to the state of West Virginia,” Castleman said. “This provides new supplies of natural gas to the eastern panhandle where there has been considerable growth.”