FERC Public Scoping meeting on Columbia MB-Line Project begs many Questions while Providing few Answers about Potential Water Quality Impacts

FERC Public Scoping Meeting
The Columbia MB line FERC meeting was, shall we say, uninfomative. As an excerpt from the Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER Twitter feed from May 9 will demonstrate. Residents of the Fallston area seemed to know more about the proposed MB line than FERC representatives.

Surprisingly, neither FERC nor Columbia represenatives were able to confirm whether there has been any communication or coordination between Baltimore City on the proposed MB line. The City is charged with providing drinking water with 1.7 million metro area residents and should be notified regarding the environmental scope of the project.

One of the FERC representatives, when questioned about how the line would impact Rural Legacy and Agricultural Easements to her credit mentioned that she had only, just, last week become aware of the different types land trust easements in the area. I met with a Columbia representative a few days after the meeting to view a detailed map of all of the water crossings of the proposed MB line. Unfortunately, that map presented was not sufficient in detail to gauge potential impacts to rivers, streams, wetlands and ponds in the Gunpowder Watershed.

Most questions posed at the meeting were answered with a blanket statement that; “FERC is still gathering information and awaiting resource assessment information from Columbia and it will soon be posted on our website. The FERC website, now populated with some information from Columbia features a file marked “privileged” that is, of this writing, not accessible to the public at large.

It is for all of these reasons that I would ask you to consider reading State Senator Bobby Zirkin’s take on this issue:

We are not at all persuaded that this project is necessary. Even assuming that a line is necessary, we believe that any line should be built with minimal impact on the environment and the community. In addition, we believe that to date, the process followed by Columbia Gas has, at best, met a minimal standard of transparency…Because FERC is a federal agency, we recommend contacting your federal officials. Please contact Congressman John Sarbanes (202-225-4016), Dutch Ruppersberger (202-225-3061), Elijah Cummings (202-225-4741), or Andy Harris (202-225-5311), depending on where you live. And also contact U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (202-224-4524) and Barbara Mikulski (202-224-4654).

Columbia Gas fully intends on moving forward with this major new gas pipeline in our community if FERC allows them to do so…

More press on the Columbia MB Pipeline Extension Project:

From the Sun: Fallston Residents Livid over Proposed Gas Pipeline, Many say project is being rushed through regulatory review, raise specter of the 2005 MTBE contamination

From the Patch:Zirkin Testifies against Columbia Gas Line Proposal:The senator protested the project at a public hearing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at Oregon Ridge Lodge.

From Sen. Bobby Zirkin: URGENT ALERT – Columbia Gas Proposing Construction of Major Gas Pipeline through Owings Mills, Greenspring Valley, Falls Road Corridor, and Northern Baltimore County