“Kayaktivists” to Call On Gov. Hogan To Reject TransCanada Fracked-Gas Pipeline in Protest on the Po Print
Written by Denise Robbins   
Friday, 28 July 2017 08:41

*Original date of 7/28 changed due to weather.


SHARPSBURG, MD — On Friday, August 11 at 1:00 pm, dozens of activists — many in kayaks — will span the Potomac River in a powerful showing of opposition to TransCanada’s proposed pipeline under the Potomac. The activists will paddle down the Potomac with large protest banners, drawing attention to the treasured river through which the pipeline is proposed to be constructed and calling on Governor Larry Hogan to reject the project.


The kayaktivist action will be the latest stage in a months-long rolling encampment titled “Standing Rock to Hancock: Camp Out to Stop the Potomac Pipeline,” which is taking place throughout the summer with camp-outs along the C&O canal near Hancock, Maryland. Momentum is building and the encampment is growing as part of efforts to urge Hogan to reject the Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project. This three-mile long pipeline would carry dangerous fracked gas from Pennsylvania through Maryland and into West Virginia.


Campers will be available throughout Friday and Saturday morning for interviews. There is also an option to join a cave tour at 11:00am before the press conference to view the region’s fragile karst geology, which makes the proposed pipeline an even greater threat to our drinking water.

Speakers at the press conference will include Patricia and Dean Kesecker — West Virginia residents whose land has been taken by eminent domain for the construction of this pipeline — and Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno, who supported the recently-passed statewide ban on fracking.


What: Citizens and environmental advocates to kayak down the Potomac Pipeline with protest banners as part of “Standing Rock to Hancock: Camp Out to Stop the Potomac Pipeline.”

Where: Taylor’s Landing, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, Sharpsburg, MD 21782

When: Friday, August 11, 1:00 pm


  • Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-18)

  • Patricia and Dean Kesecker, landowners whose land was forcefully claimed by Mountaineer Gas to build the pipeline;

  • Tracy Cannon, organizer with Eastern Panhandle Protectors;

  • Brooke Harper, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Environmental Chair for the MSC NAACP


Background Information


On June 30, 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.


"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.


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.


Organizations participating in the encampment include the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Eastern Panhandle Protectors, Potomac Riverkeepers, Food & Water Watch, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, and the Sierra Club MD Chapter.

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