Advocacy Groups to Announce Months-Long Encampment Against Pipeline Print
Written by Denise Robbins   
Wednesday, 28 June 2017 14:33

Following The Lead Of Standing Rock Protesters, Groups Launch First Of Its Kind Protest Encampment To Urge Gov. Hogan To Reject TransCanada’s Fracked-Gas Pipeline


CLEAR SPRING, MD-  Area citizens and environmental advocates on Friday will launch a months-long encampment to protest 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 will gather to 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 groups, concerned citizens, 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.


What: Area citizens and environmental advocates to launch “Standing Rock to Hancock: Camp Out to Stop the Potomac Pipeline.”

Where: McCoys Ferry Campground, Clear Spring MD (drive into the parking lot and look for the signs)

When: Friday, June 29, 11:00 am

Visuals: A 30-foot inflatable pipeline; signs depicting fracked-gas pipeline spills and calls for Hogan to reject the pipeline; Potomac River backdrop


  • Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper Network

  • Josh Tulkin, Director, Maryland Sierra Club

  • Rianna Eckel, Maryland Organizer, Food & Water Watch

  • Mike Tidwell, Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network



The Eastern Panhandle Expansion project is intended to connect a TransCanada pipeline in Pennsylvania to a Mountaineer Gas line in West Virginia. It would carry fracked gas through Maryland underneath the treasured C&O Canal, as well as the Potomac River -- the source of drinking water for six million residents in Maryland and the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

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.


We know that spills happen. Last year, TransCanada spewed nearly 17,000 gallons of oil on rural land. Just this month, the federal government suspended horizontal drilling on a pipeline in Ohio after crews discharged about two million gallons of drilling fluid into a wetland. A spill from the Potomac Pipeline during construction or operation could be a disaster.


There is already a growing movement of opposition among citizens that live along the route. When TransCanada held a forum about the pipeline, more than 100 residents of Maryland and West Virginia showed up to oppose its construction.


In order for the pipeline to move forward, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) would need to grant the 401 Water Quality Certificate under the Clean Water Act. Hogan has the ability to direct the MDE to reject this certificate.


Hogan recently signed a statewide ban on fracking, but this pipeline shows that Maryland residents are not safe from fracking infrastructure. Approval of the Eastern Panhandle Expansion pipeline would undermine the strong action Maryland has just taken to protect our drinking water and health by banning fracking. Fracked-gas infrastructure poses a similar risk to our health and our environment.

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