MD Board Rejects Gas Pipeline
Earlier this month, the Maryland Board of Public Works rejected a proposed natural gas pipeline, owned by TransCanada, that would run for three miles along the western part of the state, emphasizing concern for the environment.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp voted against the easement needed for pipeline construction. The pipeline would run under the Potomac River near Hancock, Maryland, from Pennsylvania to Mountaineer Gas’ West Virginia distribution system.
Columbia Gas Transmission
In March 2016, TransCanada announced it had entered into an agreement and plan of merger to acquire Columbia Pipeline Group Inc., which included acquiring Columbia Gas Transmission. The service operates approximately 11,300 miles of pipelines and 286 billion cubic feet of storage capacity in the Marcellus and Utica shale production areas.
The Columbia Gas Transmission network is composed of 12,000 miles of pipelines and 37 storage fields, in four states, according to TransCanada. The pipeline proposed for the western end of Maryland was an 8-inch distribution line for fracked gas from Pennsylvania to be carried to West Virginia, according to a letter from 65 state lawmakers urging rejection of the easement.
The easement has been a point of concern for environmental groups. The aforementioned letter, organized by Montgomery County Delegate David Moon, went on to state that in “addition to violating the spirit of our renewable energy portfolio and fracking ban, the TransCanada pipeline also directly endangers public health.” Hogan noted that the vote would have happened without the letter.
The Board voted 3-0 in rejection of the easement. Scott Castleman, spokesperson for TransCanada, noted that the vote did change the company’s plans for Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project, which “remains critical for West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle and the surrounding region, and will provide much-needed additional natural gas supplies for continued business and economic development.”
Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources had previously urged approval of the easement. Castleman also noted that the project had been scrutinized for the past two years by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, among others.