National Park Service signs off on permit for a Columbia Gas pipeline


The permit was signed by the acting National Capital Area Director

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — The National Park Service (NPS) has signed off a permit after they completed a review on the proposed Columbia gas pipeline.

According to a release, the park service signed a “finding of no significant impact for a right-of-way permit” request from Columbia Gas Transmission LLC. The permit would authorize Columbia Gas to run 553 feet of natural gas transmission pipeline under the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Historical Park.

NPS findings were made based on the environmental assessment by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions.

The permit was signed on Monday, September 23, by the acting National Capital Area Director.

The proposed pipeline is part of Columbia Gas’s Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project, an approximately 3.37-mile natural gas transmission pipeline that runs through fulton county, Pennsylvania, Washington County, Maryland, and Morgan County, West Virginia.

No other aspects of the overall proposal, except the portion of the pipe crossing under Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, are under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.

In response to NPS signing off on the permit, Anne Havemann, General Counsel, CCAN, stated: 

“Columbia Gas has taken risk after risk with this pipeline, starting with its proposal to run it through unstable terrain under the Potomac River — the source of drinking water for 6 million people. Not to mention the risk of investing in fracked-gas infrastructure at a time when the science and public opinion are clear that we need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels in order to stave off the most catastrophic effects of climate change. Columbia would be taking a further risk if it begins to build this pipeline without access to all the land along the route. 

“We urge Columbia to listen to Maryland residents and elected officials and give up on this dangerous pipeline. At the same time, we will continue to pursue all legal avenues to stop the project.”

Patrick Grenter, Senior Campaign Representative in Maryland for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign, stated:

“Not only has Maryland banned fracking, they have rejected an attempted land grab for this specific fracked gas pipeline. This is a dirty, dangerous project that threatens the health of Maryland’s water, people, and communities and we are going to fight it every step of the way. Columbia Gas should listen to Marylanders and put this zombie pipeline to rest once and for all.”

Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, stated: 

“Whether through pressure from the Trump administration or giving in to industry’s ‘it’s safe’ rhetoric, it is a shame that the National Park Service failed to recognize the potential environmental issues with this pipeline.”

The National Park Service said that an environmental assessment completed before their decision showed that there wouldn’t be a huge impact in doing so.

“We did look at the potential impact to parks resources and we also did look closely at the public comments we received. We did determine there would be very minimal impact to any natural or cultural resources,” said Katie Liming, a representative from NPS.

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