Our Waterkeepers are protecting local waterways, people and communities from the immediate threats of and cumulative impacts of fossil fuels. Our local waterways have been impacted by fossil fuels extraction, storage and transportation, waste products and disposal, related infrastructure development, and legacy issues such as abandoned mine drainage. As on-the-water experts, our Waterkeepers are raising awareness of how waterways and watersheds are changing due to current and long-term changes in climate.
Waterkeepers Chesapeake was a leader in the Don’t Frack Maryland campaign that called for a state-wide ban on fracking in Maryland. In 2015, a two year moratorium bill was passed by the General Assembly, with the mandate that regualtions be written by October 2016 and no permits issued until 2017. Over 170 groups have joined together in the Don't Frack Maryland campaign to pass a state-wide ban. Local ban efforts are also underway with fracking ban ordinances and resolutions in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Greenbelt, Friendsville, and Mountain Lake Park in Garrett County. A statewide ban on fracking was passed in March 2017.
In Virginia, Waterkeepers Chesapeake is part of an effort seeking a comprehensive interagency review of fracking regulations, with no new permits issued until this occurs. So far, this request has been ignored and the state allowed an industry-sponsored groups "review" the regulations. Local efforts to strictly regulate or ban fracking in the Taylorsville Basin are also underway. In addition, Waterkeepers Chesapeake worked to prohibit fracking in the George Washington National Forest.
Click here to keep up to date on our actions.
Waterkeepers Chesapeake is involved with the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) which is working to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), a natural gas pipeline project proposed by Dominion Resources and Duke Energy to carry gas from the Marcellus Shale field in central West Virginia through Virginia to users in southeast Virginia and North Carolina, in addition to being shipped to overseas markets. The 600 mile, 42” diameter pipeline would require excavation of an 8 to 12-foot-deep trench, the bulldozing of a 125-foot-wide construction corridor for its entire length, and new and explanded compressor stations. The route would traverse steep, forested mountain slopes and fragile karst topography, presenting a significant hazard to the Shenandoah and James Rivers and other waterways without providing any benefit to local communities impacted by the pipeline’s construction and operation. We have intervened in its application to FERC and are fighting to get Virginia to reject the 401 water quality certification for the pipeline.
Waterkeepers Chesapeake is also involved in efforts to stop the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Pennsylvania. This pipeline is 183.7 miles of new 30- and 42-inch diameter greenfield natural gas pipeline, with additional loops, plus new and expanded compressor stations. It threatens the Susquehanna River and several other waterways. We joined in a challenge of the application as it falls short of the Clean Water Act protections.
Waterkeepers Chesapeake is a leader in the No Potomac Pipeline Campaign to stop TransCanada from building a fracked gas pipeline under the C&O Canal and the Potomac River. This four-mile pipeline would bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania to West Virginia, and would travel through Maryland, just west of Hancock, Maryland, and is called the Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project. The campaign is urging Governor Hogan and the Maryaldn Department of Environment to do a thorough evaluation during the water quality certification process and to reject the pipeline.
Click here to keep up to date on our actions.
COAL ASH POLLUTION
In January 2016, the Virginia State Water Control Board approved Dominion Virginia Power’s permits to drain defunct coal ash ponds into nearby waterways at two sites in the state. The Possum Point Power Station is on Quantico Creek near Potomac River (pictures on the right), and the Bremo Bluff Power Station will be drained into a tributary of the James River near Fork Union— despite opposition from Potomac Riverkeeper, James Riverkeepers, Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), hundreds of public commenters, and almost two dozen state and local agencies. James River Association and Potomac Riverkeeper Network with Southern Environmental Law Center have filed notices of appeal on these two permits. During the summer of 2016, a draft waste water permit was issued for the Chesterfield power station and James Riverkeepers and SELC are also opposing this permit.
Read more for updates.
LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG) EXPORT
Waterkeepers Chesapeake has been fighting the construction of Dominion’s fracked gas export facility on the Chesapeake Bay at Cove Point since it first submitted its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Unfortunately, in July 2016 the D.C. Circuit Court upheld FERC’s “Finding of No Significant Impact,” with regards to the Cove Point LNG export facility in Lusby, MD. FERC failed its obligation to protect the residents of Maryland and people who live in the Chesapeake Bay region.
CRUDE OIL BY RAIL
After the April 30, 2014, oil train derailment and explosion on the James River at Lynchburg, VA, Waterkeepers Chesapeake is supporting Upper James Riverkeeper and other Waterkeepers in calling for stronger regulations and greater transparency in the transport by rail and storage of crude oil and other toxic chemicals.
ATLANTIC OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING
The Interior Department announced as part of a new five-year drilling plan, virtually all of the Arctic and the southeast Atlantic coast of the U.S. will become off limits for offshore drilling. This victory was the result of the hard work of the Assateague Coastal Trust, Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance and our many partners like Oceana who organized over 100 local cities and towns up and down the East Coast to oppose offshore drilling. Now, we continue to oppose any seismic testing.