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Groups Urging State to Reject the Eastern Shore Pipeline Project

July 21st, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Today, environmental organizations announced that more than 1,500 public comments were submitted to the Maryland Department of Environment opposing the Del-Mar Pipeline project. As the department considers its recommendation to the Board of Public Works on the project’s application for a Wetlands License, the comments explain how this pipeline would threaten the Eastern Shore’s wetlands ecosystems and contribute to climate change.

Anthony Field, Maryland Grassroots Coordinator for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, stated: “This proposed fracked-gas pipeline is a bad bet for Maryland. At a time when the climate crisis is imminent and the fracked-gas industry is failing, expanding fracked-gas expansion is financially and morally irresponsible. The state should invest in a truly clean and safe future for Marylanders, instead of pumping millions into near obsolete infrastructure that fuels the climate crisis while threatening local ecosystems.”

The Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company (ESNG) — a subsidiary of Chesapeake Utilities — wants to build 19+ miles of new pipeline to carry fracked gas from Delaware through Maryland, to connect with another fracked-gas pipeline proposed by Chesapeake Utilities that would bring fracked gas to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) and the Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI). These two proposed pipelines would threaten the region’s ecosystems and drinking water supplies, and could cause irreparable damage to the land and climate.

These comments come just after two massive national fracked-gas pipelines were cancelled or ordered to shut down. Companies behind the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline cancelled the project due to ballooning costs and legal uncertainties. And the Dakota Access pipeline was ordered to shut down for an environmental review.  Meanwhile, in late June, the fracking giant Chesapeake Energy filed for bankruptcy. These setbacks for the industry demonstrate that fracking is a risky investment, for the climate, the environment, and the economy.

Susan Olsen, Chair of the Sierra Club’s Lower Eastern Shore Group, stated: “We submitted these comments today to tell our leaders what we’ve been telling them for years: Marylanders don’t want fracking, we don’t want fracked gas, and we don’t want dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipelines. It makes no sense to build unnecessary fracked gas pipelines when we could be investing in the clean, renewable energy sources that are affordable and abundant right now. We banned fracking in 2017, we threw out the Potomac Pipeline in 2019, and we should reject the Eastern Shore Pipeline now.”

The pipeline is already under construction in Delaware to carry gas from that state into Maryland. The seven miles of pipeline proposed for Maryland would supply concentrated animal feeding operations, businesses, and residential areas. The two “anchor” customers for gas delivery are the Eastern Correctional Institute (ECI) and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in Somerset County. If built, the Del-Mar pipeline would trigger the second pipeline proposed by Chesapeake Utilities connecting the prison to the university. The installation of the Del-Mar pipeline will impact 1,239 square feet of streams and more than 30,000 square feet of wetlands and wetland buffers. It is anticipated to come online in late 2021.

These two pipelines are part of the Hogan Administration’s plans to spend $103 million massively increasing fracked-gas pipelines and infrastructure in the state. This includes $30.3 million administered by the Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) new Maryland Gas Expansion Fund “for the expansion of natural gas infrastructure.” The remaining $70 million is recoverable from MD ratepayers

3 comments on this post.
  1. mac:

    Just google; how safe are pipelines. Check out a few of the 25,000,000 entries.

  2. David:

    Ok let’s hear what the environmental organization’s answer to providing “clean safe energy” is, wind, solar, massive teams of squirrels turning generators? Unless you are willing to live like a third world country with black and brown outs and undependable power you have to have a power source that can be called on for power when it is needed, not when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. Yes wind and solar is clean but it is not cheap nor dependable. If these methods of power are affordable why are they subsidized by the federal government? These “greenies”are against everything that now produces power but they have no reasonable alternative yet they have no problem using the power from the system. If they want to put up wind and solar generators for their own use, more power to them, but that is not a solution for a power grid. First it was get rid of coal, but it is ok to sell it to other countries to burn. What about the global community? Now they don’t like gas! Come up with a solution that works and quit torpedoing the system that is supplying our power now!

  3. CHRIS BONNEY:

    What’s the description “cracked gas” all about, the pipeline will carry all sources of natural gas including renewable natural gas (RNG) and possibly hydrogen in the future. Europe and United Kingdom are planning on using natural gas infrastructure to carry hydrogen which burns with no pollution

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