On the eve of the first Board of Public Works meeting of 2019, scheduled for Wednesday, 62 state lawmakers — all Democrats — are calling on Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp to vote against a proposed gas pipeline that would run through portions of Washington County.
The pipeline, which would connect fracking operations in Pennsylvania with transmission lines in West Virginia, running through Hancock and underneath the Potomac River and C&O Canal, has been the source of great controversy for months. The board pulled the item from its agenda at its final meeting of 2018.
The project has already been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The agenda item before the Board of Public Works would specifically OK an easement that the developer needs to run the pipeline under the Western Maryland Rail Trail.
“We believe this project would reverse course on our state’s efforts to protect the health of our residents and combat climate change,” the lawmakers wrote to Hogan, Kopp and Franchot. “…Given that Maryland has banned fracking, it defies our state’s existing energy policy to bring the same public health risks to our residents by way of a pipeline. Moreover, enabling fossil fuel production runs counter to our state’s goals of increasing renewable energy production.”