Thursday 14 December 2017
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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 pipeline means farmers and landowners will have to fight to protect their property rights. TransCanada’s landmen are using the same scare tactics that have been used for decades: “Sell your rights or we’ll take them for free through eminent domain.” It’s a dirty trick that divides neighbors and hurts communities. The only winners are pipeline owners.

We know that pipelines can leak and that their construction can hurt local and regional water quality. Inherent risks are involved with the construction of pipelines across local rivers and streams. The Eastern Panhandle Expansion project would be no exception. In fact, the pipeline will impact sensitive Karst geology that could transmit pollutants through a connected underground aquifer, degrade pristine streams, and threaten public and private water supplies. Sinkholes and caverns will impact the integrity of the pipeline, and cause subterranean ruptures and possible explosions. Earlier this year, during the drilling for a pipeline, nearly two million gallons of bentonite drilling fluid spilled into an Ohio wetland.

We are at a critical moment in our campaign. The Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) is holding a public hearing on December 19th on one of the permits needed for the pipeline, and we need to show up in a BIG way. We need hundreds of voices there speaking out and telling them that we don’t want a fracked-gas pipeline running under the Nation’s River — the Potomac — and locking us into dirty fossil fuels for decades to come.

Help us urge Governor Hogan to REJECT this dangerous pipeline.

Join us on December 19th to stand against the Potomac Pipeline

Pack the Public Hearing!

What: Potomac Pipeline Press Conference and MDE Hearing

Who: You! And other concerned citizens in your community

When: December 19, 2017, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Where: Hancock High, 289 W Main St, Hancock, Maryland 21750

RSVP: Click HERE to RSVP. If you're on Facebook, RSVP there, too -- and invite all your friends.

Click Here for More Info and Tips on Commenting

Before the hearing, we’ll be holding a press conference with local elected leaders, landowners and pipeline activists, urging Governor Hogan to deny the pipeline permit. Then at 7:00 pm we will head into the public hearing, where you can testify and tell our leaders that we want to protect the drinking water source for over 6 million people and safeguard our communities from fracked-gas.

We know that this is a busy time of year for each of us. With the holidays approaching, we know that this meeting couldn’t be scheduled at a more inconvenient time. But if there is one thing you can do to stop the pipeline, this is it.

Join us and add your voice in opposition to this fracked gas pipeline!

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 16, 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.

 

Dec. 4th Public Meeting & Rally on Coal Ash Disposal in Virginia

Back in April, Governor McAuliffe put the brakes on issuing coal ash solid waste permits to Dominion for at least a year so the toxic coal ash threats posed at their facilities can be assessed and the full range of disposal solutions explored, including recycling. This assessment will be presented to the State Water Commission on December 4th.

Please join us Dec. 4th from 10:00 – noon to hear the results of this finding. The meeting will be located in Virginia State Capitol, House Room 1, 1000 Bank Street, Richmond, Virginia. Remember to bring a state issued ID to gain entry into the Virginia State Capitol.

Immediately following the meeting there will be a press event and a Dominion: Move Your Ash rally. RSVP today to receive updates. We need to tell Dominion and Virginia loud and clear that they can’t bury toxic coal ash in leaky ponds at their power plants!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1310974965680909/


Water is Life Rally & Concert to Stop Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Dec. 2nd

This rally and concert will focus attention on the Virginia Water Control Board hearings coming up in Richmond on December 6, 7, 11 & 12 to decide whether or not to grant water quality certifications for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. The Rally & Concert on Dec. 2nd and the public hearings represent the last political chance in Virginia to stop these fracked gas pipelines. Help surround Capitol Grounds from 1-2pm to send a strong message to our public officials. Then join for food, fun, and music at The National.

WHEN: Saturday, 12/2 from 1-4:30pm

WHERE: 1:00 pm at Capitol Grounds in Richmond and 2:00 pm at The National.

https://www.facebook.com/events/127828584582997/


Public Hearing on Water Permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Dec. 11 - 12

The Virginia State Water Control Board will hold hearings to consider the application for water quality certification for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The consideration is part of the process required under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.

The meetings are scheduled for: 9:30am, Monday, Dec. 11 and Tuesday, Dec. 12 at Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA.

The Water Control Board is the last hurdle Dominion faces in Virginia, and our last hope to block it before heading to federal court.

Help us send a message to the Board and Governor McAuliffe – come out to the hearings on December 11 & 12 and demand they put Virginians and our environment ahead of national politics and Dominion influence-peddling. Check our Facebook page for updates.


Public Meeting on Water Permit for Potomac Pipeline Dec. 19th

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is holding a public meeting on TransCanada’s proposed fracked gas pipeline that would tunnel under the Potomac River.

The hearing is Tuesday, Dec. 19th, 6:00 – 9:30 pm at Hancock Middle/High School, 289 West Main Street, Hancock MD 21750.

At this meeting, MDE will hear from Marylanders to inform their decision about whether to approve or deny the 401 Water Quality Certification under the Clean Water Act. Denying the 401 permit would stop the construction of this pipeline in its tracks, and is the best way for Governor Hogan and MDE to protect our drinking water!

Join us on Dec. 19th to stand united in saying NO to the Potomac Pipeline. This is a critical moment to stop the Potomac Pipeline, show up and speak up!

Details about how to prepare your testimony to come. If you can’t join us on December 19th, stay tuned for instructions to submit written testimony through January 16th.

https://www.facebook.com/events/498027433917323/

 

Please support our work to defend and protect your clean water!

Join your Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, along with neighbors and the brave defenders of the Potomac watershed on November 5th in Chevy Chase, Maryland from 7-10pm at the Meadowbrook Park Activity Building. We will celebrate and learn about our unique watershed and a small community's fight against a large hog Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) in Fulton County, PA. 

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This factory-like facility would be the largest in the county and would house close to 9,000 hogs, while confining sows to production of 9,600 piglets each month – or 115,200 piglets annually. With this many pigs comes even more manure. The CAFO would apply over 11.4 million gallons of manure to land in our watershed and use an estimated 14 million gallons of water each year.

Our upstream neighbors and community members, led by homeowner Marjorie Hudson (pictured below) - who lives across from the proposed hog CAFO - have opposed the project since it was proposed in 2014. Thanks to their efforts, they have been able to stop the CAFO from polluting nearby air, land and waterways.

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The location of the proposed CAFO is on a hill that drains into tributaries of Big Cove Creek, a popular fishing location. The waters of Big Cove Creek flow into Licking Bend Creek, which is a tributary of the Potomac River. The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay and provides drinking water for approximately 4.5 million people. 

Marjorie and her neighbors can't go it alone - they need our support! Please join us in support of Marjorie’s life-sustaining work because we all live downstream.

RSVP & DONATE on EventBrite or Facebook

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Want to know more? 

The proposed hog CAFO in Fulton County would:

  • Apply over 11.4 million gallons of waste to land in our watershed
  • Pollute groundwater and drinking water aquifers, as manure will be spread in a Karst area. Some Karst features are springs, sinkholes, and underground streams.  
  • Threaten private drinking wells
  • Jeopardize aquatic habitat and trout fishing in Big Cove Creek
  • Harm local air quality
    • Not only do hog CAFOs create harsh odors for neighboring communities, but they also emit toxic pollutants, like hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, that can cause serious health problems for residents.
    • Children and other vulnerable populations are more likely to experience asthmatic symptoms near hog CAFOs.
    • Unlike other industries, hog CAFOs are not regulated by the Clean Air Act.
  • Decrease overall water quality in the watershed
    • Runoff from hog CAFOs contains microbes, hormones, pesticides and other harmful chemicals that degrade water quality, kill fish, cause algal blooms, and impairs drinking water sources.
  • Use an estimated 14 million gallons of water each year
    • CAFOs and other agricultural operations are responsible for 80-90% of all water consumption, using 34-76 trillion gallons of water every year. 

Just one CAFO with 800,000 pigs generates 1.6 million tons of animal waste every year. This is as much waste is 1.5 times the amount of waste produced by the city of Philadelphia! Unlike human waste, animal waste from hog farms is often left untreated in open lagoons.  This waste also contains harmful microbes and hormones, that make their way into local waterways.

‘We Are All Downstream’ is dedicated to the memory of the late Kathy Ozer who for 24 years tirelessly advocated for small family farms as Executive Director of the National Family Farm Coalition.

 On this 45th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we reflect on how our local Waterkeeper programs are needed more than ever to safeguard our clean water resources.

Over the past few years, Waterkeepers Chesapeake has successfully brought together 19 local Waterkeepers programs to collaboratively advocate for and bring legal action to protect communities and waterways throughout the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bay regions.

Waterkeepers Chesapeake has focused on unifying Waterkeeper efforts behind important clean water priorities, like the passage of the fracking ban in Maryland and the passage of protective coal ash laws in Virginia. Waterkeepers Chesapeake also works on issues at the federal level - coordinating efforts against EPA's rollback of clean water protections, the slashing of EPA funding, and Scott Pruitt's appointment.

Through the Fair Farms campaign, Waterkeepers Chesapeake is addressing agricultural pollution while supporting sustainable farming efforts. This year, we worked to pass a second-in-the-country law to restrict the routine use of human antibiotics in livestock.

At the core of our work we empower people to stop pollution and encourage better local water quality through tools and legal rights under the Clean Water Act. Waterkeeper programs were founded to engage and organize citizens to protect their right to clean water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supposed to promulgate and enforce laws and regulations to protect human health and the environment. Sadly, under this administration, the EPA has been fully captured by the fossil fuels industry and industrial polluters. To date, the EPA has rolled back or repealed the Clean Water Rule, the Clean Power Plan, and effluent limits on the discharge of toxic coal wastewater.

Now, our Waterkeepers are the last line of defense for citizens to protect their clean water. Some examples of how our Waterkeepers are encouraging public participation in protecting our waters include:

  • For the past several years, the Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) has conducted compliance sweeps of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits issued under the Clean Water Act to assess violations before a major incident occurs. In a recent sweep, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper found that 38 out of 291 facilities had severe violations. PRKN’s first step is to communicate pollution concerns with the facility, and to offer assistance in mitigating the problem. If there is no cooperation or development of a remedy, then they notify the State. If the State does nothing to remedy the problem, then they escalate to legal action on behalf of the impacted citizens.
  • Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) and Chesapeake Legal Alliance (CLA), produced the Citizen Guide – Public Participation in Maryland’s NPDES Permitting Program. The Guide was produced for the purpose of improving the vital component of citizen involvement in environmental decision-making in Maryland. The Guide is used as an outreach tool to engage organizations and citizens to get involved with the many key avenues for public participation in protecting our waters. It is critical that those impacted by permit violations be engaged in the early stages.
  • The Lower James and Upper James Riverkeepers have created an advocacy tool called Our River at Risk to educate and rally citizens around toxic pollution threats like coal ash. They use maps, online petitions and email updates to elevate the public’s voice and participation in regulatory and permitting processes.
  • The South Riverkeeper published a report on a county’s enforcement of its environmental code to show the county that it needs to step up resources for clean water enforcement. The report clearly showed that current penalties are not effective deterrents for environmental carelessness.

These are just a few examples of how our Waterkeepers bring the Clean Water Act to life on the local level and empower citizens to participate in the protection of their right to clean water. In an era when the EPA administrator only meets with corporate polluters and ignores the public, an engaged and active citizenry on the local level is more important than ever.

What You Can Do

  • Visit our website to get involved and support your local Waterkeeper program
  • Support Waterkeepers Chesapeake
  • Use our Water Reporter app to report pollution to your local Waterkeeper
  • Take Action! Tell your federal representatives to resist any rollbacks or repeals of clean water protections, to stop any reductions in funding of the EPA, and to protect citizens’ right to sue when government fails to enforce the law.

 

Dominion has told the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) that it plans to emit eight times as many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as it's currently allowed from its fracked gas export terminal in Cove Point, Maryland — raising expected VOC emissions from 2.53 tons per year to 20.1 tons per year!
 
Dominion is asking to have its existing permit changed to remove any numeric limit of VOC pollution and also to change the way the pollution would be monitored. If this application is approved, it could set a precedent for other dangerous gas infrastructure projects.
 
Please send the PSC a comment today urging it to deny this application!
 
Hundreds of people came to a public hearing on this issue on October 2. Speaker after speaker testified against Dominion's permit change, but now we need to follow that up with submitting as many comments as possible. The more the PSC hears that this is a terrible idea, the more likely it is to reject Dominion's request.
 
All comments must be received by the PSC by 5 p.m. on Monday, October 16.
 
The PSC only accepts comments that are written and mailed, so please send yours today to the address below. Alternatively, you can submit comments electronically at bit.ly/novocpollution, and We Are Cove Point will print them up and mail them in for you!
 
To send a comment directly to the PSC, make sure to include the permit number 9318 and mail it to:

David J. Collins, Executive Secretary
Maryland Public Service Commission
6 Saint Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202-6806 

Much more information about all of this is at bit.ly/novocpollution. Please help protect the air around Cove Point and stop a terrible decision that could have much broader ramifications!

We need to act fast! The proposed 600-mile fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is on its way to being built – unless we all work together to stop this unnecessary and economically and environmentally devastating project.

This pipeline project proposed by Dominion Resources and Duke Energy would carry gas from the Marcellus Shale field in central West Virginia through Virginia to users in southeast Virginia and North Carolina, and would be 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 expanded compressor stations.

The route would cross two national forests and 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. 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is responsible for authorizing the construction, operation, and maintenance of interstate natural gas transmission pipelines, just rubberstamped this project.

But Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) can stop this pipeline by denying its water quality certification. We urge you submit comments on the draft water quality certification --- but act fast because the deadline is August 22.

You can comment by clicking on our Action Alert here.

OR

You can use these talking points and submit your own comments at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/ProtectionRequirementsforPipelines.aspx

Don’t hesitate! In your own words, tell Virginia that the Shenandoah and James Rivers are important to you. Would your drinking water supply be threatened by the construction of the pipeline? Do you use a stream for fishing, boating, swimming, or just for aesthetic enjoyment -- these are valid recreational uses that DEQ must protect.

DEQ is taking shortcuts to expedite the project review, instead of performing a careful and thorough review. We need to tell DEQ that this is unacceptable and the water quality certification for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline should be rejected!

Thank you for taking action for clean water!

P.S. Additional info on how to submit comments.

The Trump administration launched its assault on our clean water and drinking water protections with a proposed repeal of the Clean Water Rule. A lengthy, deliberate, and inclusive process led to the 2015 Clean Water Rule, a rule protective of vital waterways and based in sound law and sound science. By comparison, the Administration’s scheme to repeal and eviscerate the 2015 Clean Water Rule has been hasty and haphazard, ignoring the strong legal and scientific basis for the Rule, disrespecting its broad public support, and providing little opportunity for the many clean water stakeholders to voice their interest in inclusive Clean Water Act coverage to protect the nation’s waters.

This proposed rulemaking contradicts the law and science that is the foundation for the Clean Water Act successes of the past 40 years, will remove Clean Water Act protections for millions of wetland acres and stream miles, and will cripple federal and state clean water initiatives for the foreseeable future. This rulemaking ignores the robust record in support of the Clean Water Rule, and intentionally limits the opportunity for affected communities to express their views about this proposal.

We oppose this heartless scheme to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule and to gut the protections that have prevented reckless pollution of the nation's waterways for decades. The repeal will mean more pollution to the lakes and streams we rely on for drinking water supply or for fishing and swimming, and a green light for the rampant destruction of wetlands that prevent dangerous flooding. We urge the Administration to withdraw its proposal immediately. If the agencies decide to consider any potential revisions to the 2015 Clean Water Rule, they must engage in a thoughtful, inclusive, science-based, and legally sound process for doing so.

Make your voice heard! The Clean Water Rule was published in the Federal Register. Comments must be submitted to the docket by September 27, 2017.

You can submit comments with our Action Alert here.

OR

You can use these Talking Points, sample comments, and the resources listed below to submit comments directly online here: 

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203-0001 

Resources:

Repeal of Clean Water Rule: What’s At Stake, SELC, June 2017

Putting Drinking Water First: Restoring Clean Water Act Protections to Streams and Wetlands, Clean Water Action, Spring 2017

We All Live Downstream, National Wildlife Federation, March 2017

New Attempt to Muddy Clean Water Protections, National Wildlife Federation, June 2017

Clean Water for All Campaign, http://protectcleanwater.org

Fact Sheet: What You Need to Know about the Rollback of Clean Water Safeguards

Social media:

Hashtags: #DefendWater #ProtectCleanWater #DirtyWaterRule

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Support our work to protect your clean water!
 

EPA is trying to roll back a 2015 rule that establishes the first-ever uniform limits for toxic water pollution from coal-fired power plants, America’s #1 source of toxic water pollution. Before the agency tries to dismantle the rule, it must first find a legal way to suspend the fast-approaching compliance deadlines—a step that has proven more difficult than Scott Pruitt might have expected. 
 
EPA has initiated a formal notice & comment rulemaking process just to suspend the deadlines under the 2015 rule. The comment period ended, however EPA granted Waterkeeper Alliance's request to hold a public hearing on July 31 in Washington. 
 
This hearing will be a great opportunity to turn people out and express our opposition to the current regime’s anti-clean-water agenda. I want to encourage to join us in DC to let EPA know how you feel about having vital protections for your water stripped away as a favor to our country’s biggest polluters.
 
Here’s the info for the hearing:
 
Monday, July 31 at 1:00 pm
EPA Headquarters
William J. Clinton - East Building, Room 1153
1201 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
 
If you are planning to speak (or even just attend), please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and copy This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ASAP.
 
Go to our Facebook event page and let us know you are coming! Follow #NoToxicWater!
 
You can use these talking points to draft your testimony.
 
Read Waterkeeper Alliance's blog for more info.
 
 
Support our work to protect your clean water!
 

 

From Hancock to the Bay, Maryland citizens are rising up to resist pipelines in their communities. This summer in Maryland, we’ll be camping out to protect our water and STOP TransCanada from building a fracked-gas pipeline underneath the Potomac River and C&O Canal.

On August 11th at 1:00pm join Maryland legislators, CCAN, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, Waterkeepers Chesapeake and concerned citizens for a press conference and kayak action against the Potomac Pipeline. We'll be gathering at Taylor's Landing on the C&O Canal Towpath, near Sharpsburg, MD.

Together, we'll say NO to TransCanada's proposed fracked-gas pipeline under the Potomac!

This summer, we are forming a resistance to stop the pipeline under the Potomac. We will do this by staging camp outs along the C & O Canal throughout the summer to draw attention to the many groups, concerned citizens, and elected officials who are opposed to endangering the drinking water of millions for a pipeline that wouldn’t even benefit Maryland citizens. We’ll be calling on Governor Hogan to deny the permit that would allow TransCanada to drill under the Potomac in Maryland.

Call Governor Hogan today and leave a voicemail asking him to reject the pipeline! 

DIAL: 1-855-969-5613

SAY: Hi my name is _____ and I am calling as a constituent [a Potomac River and national park user] to ask Governor Hogan to reject the pipeline under the Potomac. Thank you!

Governor Hogan has the authority to stop this pipeline. He can direct the Department of the Environment to deny a special water quality certification under the Clean Water Act. Please take a minute right now to send an email to Governor Larry Hogan to tell him to reject the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project!

Follow along on social media at #NoPotomacPipeline & #NoPPL

Follow No Potomac Pipeline on Facebook!

Support our work to protect your clean water!