Wednesday 22 August 2018

Waterkeepers Chesapeake, representing 19 Riverkeepers, Waterkeepers and Coastkeepers across the Chesapeake Bay region, are concerned about the health of the Potomac River watershed, which provides drinking water for millions – and could be jeopardized by the construction and operation of the Potomac Pipeline. We are joining 17 other groups calling for the Maryland Department of the Environment to respond to our concerns, be transparent in their permitting process, and take adequate protective measures with regard to the Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project.

For the past nine months, we've been misled by MDE with inconsistent and conflicting messages on how the Potomac Pipeline would be regulated. We have explained, through every means possible, our concerns and recommended actions, and we have been ignored.

While we have conveyed the serious impacts associated with this fracked gas pipeline – MDE has made the decision to have this project fall under the broader General Permit.

This is a problem because the General Permit does not look at important indirect impacts to water quality, such as erosion and sediment from tree clearing, impacts to drinking water resources, and impacts to karst geology. Furthermore, this permit, approved in 2016, only applies to projects that have minimal adverse environmental effects. With a pipeline that could lead to contaminated drinking water aquifers, methane leakage, and impaired aquatic habitats – and is mutually dependent on the Mountaineer Gas Pipeline project in West Virginia, a new forty two mile gas pipeline proposal that relies on this project to provide the natural gas supply – it’s safe to say the impacts from this project will be far from “minimal.”

Because MDE has failed to take adequate measures to protect our water resources, and because we have pursued every avenue possible to raise MDE’s awareness of these concerns, we are joining other groups in boycotting the MDE's second hearing on Monday, Janaury 22.

Given the fact that Maryland, under Governor Hogan’s leadership, was the first state to legislatively ban fracking, thousands of citizens across the region are justifiably concerned that allowing a pipeline carrying fracked gas to be built across Maryland presents unacceptable risks and is contrary to the public interest.

We are calling on MDE to use it’s 401 water quality certification authority and deny this pipeline – in the name of protecting Maryland’s precious waterways and the region’s drinking water supplies.

You can take action and submit comments by January 25th => CLICK HERE



TransCanada wants to build a fracked-gas pipeline underneath our treasured Potomac River and C&O Canal. This company has shown its reckless disregard for public safety and the environment, and now it wants to threaten our own drinking water and communities for a pipeline that won't benefit Marylanders in any way.

The December 19th Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) hearing in Hancock, MD, was absolutely packed with opponents of the pipeline. Over two hundred attended, and the majority spoke in opposition. And because of this MDE scheduled a second hearing on January 22nd at the Hancock High School from 6-10 Hancock, MD (snow date — January 25).

Yes, MDE is holding a second public hearing, but they are playing fast and loose with the truth on the 401 process. Several nonprofit groups and residents, including us, have decided to boycott this hearing. We are asking that if you make public comments, to then join us outside the hearing to show your solidarity. See Upper Potomac Riverkeeper Brent Wall’s blog on why and how here.

For nine months, we have explained, through every means possible, our concerns and recommended actions, and we have been ignored.

  • MDE should NOT move forward with approval until all information for a thorough review is available to the public; so far, MDE has failed to clearly explain the confusing federal/state permitting process, causing confusion and limiting public feedback on this controversial pipeline.
  • MDE should require individual 401 certifications for wetland and stream crossings, rather than relying on the Army Corps of Engineers.
  • MDE has ignored requests from Maryland residents to ask FERC to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement.

We are not going to be pacified by just public hearings. They have heard everything we want to say. Now, we want action! Add your voice to stop fracked gas pipeline under the Potomac and join us on January 22nd in Hancock! (Rally from 6:00 - 7:00pm; hearing runs from 6:00pm to 10:00pm.)

If you signed up to speak at the first hearing but didn’t get a chance, you are welcome to make your voice heard during this hearing. We will simply ask you to make a statement of solidarity during your comments and then rejoin the broader boycott of citizens outside. Click Here for Info on Boycott and Tips on Commenting

Please RSVP here on our Eventbrite so we know you’re coming.

Click here to submit comments by January 25th opposing the Potomac Pipeline. Help us urge Governor Hogan to REJECT this dangerous pipeline!

In addition to the MDE Dec. 19th hearing, more than 100 people turned out for the WVA Department of Environmental Protection January 9th hearing on the stormwater permit for the Mountaineer Gas Pipeline that would connect to the TransCanada pipeline. This pipeline also threatens the Potomac River. You can still submit comments to WVDEP by January 19th.

Can’t make it to the hearing? Don’t live in Maryland? You can comment on the permit, too!

Maryland Department of the Environment is accepting comments on the Nontidal Wetlands & Waterways Permit through January 25, 2018 for the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project! Take action today & tell them to reject the pipeline!

P.S. With support from hundreds of our members, we were able to help build a powerful grassroots movement to ban fracking in Maryland. Please consider making a generous donation to help us in this next fight to keep fossil fuel infrastructure from causing irreversible harm to our water supplies!


We need your help! The health of the Chesapeake Bay and Susquehanna River depend on it.

Tell the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) that Exelon Corporation – the owner and operator of Conowingo Dam – must play a role in the cleanup efforts around the Dam.

The Conowingo Dam, on the Susquehanna River, has held back sediment and other pollutants for decades, but recent research shows that the Dam reservoir has filled up with sediment and associated nutrients much faster than expected. 

At least 100 million tons of sediment need to be removed!

If a major, catastrophic-level storm happens, this sediment can and will be mobilized and delivered downstream – smothering aquatic grasses that provide food, habitats and oxygen for marine life in the Chesapeake Bay. It’s not a matter of if a major, catastrophic-level storm will happen, but when.

Exelon Corporation has recently filed an application with MDE to re-license the Dam for another 46 years. MDE has the opportunity to approve, deny or place “conditions” on the Dam’s license through this process – and can require that Exelon take steps to mitigate some of the environmental harms this Dam has caused.

MDE needs to hear from you on this important issue! We can’t wait another 46 years before taking action!

The public has until January 15, 2018 to submit written comments to MDE on the re-licensing of Conowingo Dam.

Read our blog for more more info.