Maryland board votes in opposition to pure fuel pipeline mission

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WJ Wire

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A board of high-ranking Maryland officers on Wednesday rejected a proposed pipeline throughout the western a part of the state that may carry pure fuel produced in Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

The Board of Public Works voted 3-Zero in opposition to an easement for TransCanada’s pipeline. It might run underneath the Potomac River close to Hancock, Maryland, and lengthen about Three miles (4.eight kilometers) from Columbia Fuel’ community in Pennsylvania to Mountaineer Fuel’ distribution system in West Virginia.

Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, cited testimony that the pipeline might carry Maryland environmental issues with out financial advantages. The board additionally contains Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, a Democrat.

Environmentalists and residents have been vocal in opposing the pipeline.

“Marylanders and plenty of of their leaders have constantly opposed the threats fracked fuel pipelines pose to our well being, water, local weather, and communities,” mentioned Josh Tulkin, Sierra Membership Maryland chapter director.

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Scott Castleman, a spokesman for TransCanada, mentioned the corporate will think about its choices over the approaching days to maintain the mission on monitor.

“For almost two years, our mission has been studied and scrutinized by teams together with the Federal Power Regulatory Fee, the Maryland Division of the Setting and the Maryland Division of Pure Assets,” Castleman mentioned. “This intensive course of has confirmed that by correct design and development our mission will be accomplished in an environmentally accountable and secure method.”

The board’s vote got here after greater than 60 lawmakers despatched a letter urging board members to reject the proposal. The lawmakers famous that Maryland accepted a regulation, which Hogan signed in 2017, to ban the hydraulic fracturing drilling course of generally known as fracking in Maryland. The method is used to extract pure fuel. Maryland was the primary state the place a legislature voted to bar the apply that truly has pure fuel reserves.

“Provided that Maryland has banned fracking, it defies our state’s present vitality coverage to carry the identical public well being dangers to our residents by means of a pipeline,” the letter mentioned. “Furthermore, enabling fossil gas manufacturing runs counter to our state’s targets of accelerating renewable vitality manufacturing.”

The letter, which was despatched this week, additionally famous that the pipeline would have an effect on at the least 10 wetlands and 19 streams, along with the Potomac River.

Whereas the board delayed a vote on the easement at its final assembly, Hogan mentioned the unanimous vote would have occurred with out the letter from lawmakers.

“It had nothing to do with any letter from the legislature,” Hogan mentioned at Wednesday’s board assembly.

Anne Havemann, an legal professional for Chesapeake Local weather Motion Community, mentioned she hopes the board’s vote marks an finish to the proposal.

“We’ll see if (the Federal Power Regulatory Fee) will get concerned or the courts become involved, however for now it’s a welcome delay and we hope a everlasting finish to this pipeline,” Havemann mentioned shortly after the vote.

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This story has been corrected to say the pipeline can be close to Hancock, Maryland, as an alternative of Hanover.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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