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Months-Long Encampment in Opposition to Proposed Pipeline under the Potomac River under way

June 30th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

On Friday, a coalition of area citizens, elected officials, and environmental advocates announced the launch of a protest encampment to stop TransCanada’s proposed pipeline under the Potomac River. This encampment is the first of its kind in Maryland history to protest fossil fuels. The proposed pipeline would threaten millions of residents in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. who rely on the Potomac river for drinking water. The protesters are camping out to draw attention to the issue and demand Maryland Governor Larry Hogan reject the permit required for construction of this pipeline.


The encampment, titled “Standing Rock to Hancock: Camp Out to Stop the Potomac Pipeline,” will take place throughout the summer with camp outs along the C&O canal near Hancock, Maryland. The coalition intends to draw attention to the many concerned citizens, environmental advocacy groups, and elected officials who are opposed to endangering drinking water for a pipeline that won’t benefit Maryland citizens.


TransCanada’s proposed Eastern Panhandle Expansion project would transport fracked gas from Pennsylvania to West Virginia by way of Maryland underneath the Potomac River and C&O Canal. The encampment will take place at McCoy’s Ferry, near the pipeline’s proposed route.


"Clean energy is where our nation needs to be. This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s about protecting our environment, national security, economic security and public health,” said Senator Cardin, senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Investment in clean energy is booming and Congress has to act swiftly to support this effort or risk hurting the United States financially and damaging our global reputation as a clean energy innovator.”


"Fracked gas and the supporting infrastructure has no long term benefits to the State of Maryland, and this pipeline project puts an enormous amount of risk on Maryland residents,” said Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper. “Drilling under the Potomac River –the drinking water source for millions of people — for a fracked gas pipeline in sensitive karst geology that threatens water quality is not a plan we support. And strong arm tactics, like threatening eminent domain, don't play well out here. But they're trying it anyway."


The pipeline would cross sensitive karst geology, which is characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves and is easily susceptible to transmission of pollutants through connected underground aquifers. The pipeline could degrade pristine streams and further threaten public and private water supplies. Using hydraulic directional drilling under streams in karst geology would create pathways for water to drain down the bore holes and dissolve the limestone around the piping. This activity can create sinkholes that could impact the integrity of the pipeline, causing subterranean ruptures and even explosions, further threatening the Potomac River.


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