WV Fight Over Simple Expansion of Local Gas Delivery Pipeline

Eastern Panhandle of WV

In April, MDN brought you the news that Columbia Pipeline (now owned by TransCanada) has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a 3.5 mile, 8-inch pipeline that will carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to connect the Mountaineer Gas system in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia with the Columbia Gas Pipeline in Pennsylvania (see New 3.5 Mile Pipeline Project to Drill Under the Potomac River). The purpose of the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project is to deliver natural gas via local distribution channels (local utility Mountaineer Gas) to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, scheduled to open in Fall 2017, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. Most of the proposed pipeline crosses through a tiny sliver of Washington County, Maryland. The main “issue” with the project is that the pipeline will be drilled underneath the Potomac River, which serves as the border between WV and MD. That has radical anti-fossil fuelers in an uproar. They spit and spout about “fracked gas from Pennsylvania,” among other reasons to oppose the project. At its core, this is a project to bring Marcellus/Utica natural gas to more businesses and residents that want access to that gas–primarily in West Virginia. And yet there is a full court press by antis to defeat the project. Their aim these days is to prevent building a single inch of new pipelines that flow “evil fossil fuels.” And so this project, which would connect new customers to clean-burning natgas, is in a fight for its life…

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