It’s Thursday, January 3, and the Potomac Pipeline just got voted down.
Columbia Gas (owned by TransCanada, the same company that brought you Keystone XL) had planned to build a 3.5-mile pipeline through Maryland. The $25 million Potomac Pipeline would have piped fracked gas under the Potomac River, a source of drinking water for around 6 million people.
But on Wednesday, the Maryland Board of Public Works voted 3-0 against the project.
It’s not like Maryland board members woke up yesterday morning and decided on a whim to unanimously vote against the pipeline. Activists have been protesting the project for two years now, arguing the Potomac Pipeline puts local ecosystems and people at risk.
On New Year’s Day, 62 lawmakers sent the Maryland Board of Public Works an open letter urging it to reject the project. “The construction and operation of the Potomac Pipeline would impact at least 10 wetlands and 19 streams, in addition to the Potomac River,” the senators and delegates wrote.
One of the three members of the Board of Public Works is Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan, who surprised activists yesterday by taking a stand against the pipeline. Hogan banned fracking in the state last year.
The vote is a significant blow to TransCanada’s project, but the company has said it’s still committed to building the pipeline. A spokesperson said TransCanada will “consider” its options, and might decide to challenge the board’s verdict in court.
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