​Maryland board votes against TransCanada gas pipeline

Image: TransCanada

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A board of Maryland officials on Wednesday rejected a proposed pipeline across the western part of the state that would carry natural gas produced in Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

The Board of Public Works voted 3-0 against an easement for TransCanada's pipeline. It would run under the Potomac River near Hanover, Maryland, and extend 3 miles (4.83 kilometres) from Columbia Gas' network in Pennsylvania to Mountaineer Gas' distribution system in West Virginia.

Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, cited testimony that the pipeline could bring Maryland environmental problems without economic benefits. The board also includes Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, a Democrat.

The board's vote came after more than 60 lawmakers sent a letter urging board members to reject the proposal. The lawmakers noted that Maryland approved a law, which Hogan signed in 2017, to ban the hydraulic fracturing process in Maryland.

“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,” the letter said. “Moreover, enabling fossil fuel production runs counter to our state's goals of increasing renewable energy production.”

While the board delayed a vote on the easement at its last meeting, Hogan said the unanimous vote would have happened without the letter from lawmakers.

“It had nothing to do with any letter from the legislature,” Hogan said at Wednesday's board meeting.

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