The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Maryland Department of the Environment will be holding two hearings to discuss the application of the proposed Columbia Gas pipeline project.
TUESDAY May 21,2013 Fallston High School Cafeteria 2301 Carrs Mills Rd Fallston MD 21047 410-638-4120 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Poster Session 7:00 pm Public Hearing
THURSDAY May 23, 2013 Stevenson University, Owings Mills Campus Rockland Center, Banquet Room 10949 Boulevard Circle Owings Mills MD 21117 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Poster session 7:00 pm Public Hearing
Please attend to voice your comments and concerns regarding this project.
From Senator Bobby Zirkin and Delegates Dan Morhaim, Dana Stein, and Jon Cardin
We are writing to alert you to a proposal by Columbia Gas to construct a major natural gas pipeline through many parts of our District. The route being proposed by this Corporation may have serious impact on many of our homes, communities, and natural environments in the 11th District. We are writing to you with serious concerns and urge you to educate yourself about this project.
A number of constituents and community organizations have raised questions about the impact of this project. We are working to insure that everyone is as fully informed as possible and that citizens know where to raise those concerns.
The proposed pipeline by Columbia Gas would involve digging ditches across a 21 mile path, impacting over 300 acres, following a path of their current line which was built many decades ago. Columbia is not required to follow this path. Construction of this magnitude would impact natural environments in its path, necessitate clearing of trees and vegetation, cross streams and wetlands, and impact wildlife. Although lobbyists from Columbia Gas assure that they will mitigate damage, we are not convinced of this. Environmental impacts could be severe and long-term.
Further, the project will have a serious impact on property rights and individual homes. If approved, Columbia can add an additional 25 foot easement on properties. This means that Columbia would essentially take for their own an additional 25 feet of someone's property. Citizens will be forced to deal with many months of heavy construction throughout our area. Homes may be forced to deal with the loss of forest and the natural environment. If the project is approved by FERC, citizens could be forced to remove structures such as playgrounds and decks. Citizens may face the choice of being paid money for the removal of such structures or eminent domain.
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.
Please take the time to educate yourself and your community on this issue. Whether you are personally affected or not by the specific route, we all share in the tremendous value of our beautiful environment and community and we should be united in this effort.
Columbia Gas must make application through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the national agency that regulates interstate energy matters. We are working hard to understand how state and local governments, community organizations, and citizens can impact those decisions.
It is important to send written comments to FERC. They may be sent to: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Attn: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, 888 First St. NE, Room 1A, Washington, D.C. 20426. You can also comment on line at www.FERC.gov and follow the link to "Documents and Filings." There is an "eFiling" link that may be followed. In any comment, reference Docket Number CP13-8.
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. Note that this is for gas transmission only and it will not provide any benefit to our community in any way. Your utility bills will not go down as a result of this project at all. Constructing the line in the heart of our area will have serious impact from Owings Mills to Greenspring Valley to the Falls Road Corridor to Cockeysville to Northern Baltimore County to Fallston.
As this is a federal interstate project, it is unclear what impact our efforts will have. But we believe it is critical to try to influence this process before FERC grants approval and it is too late.
Senator Bobby Zirkin
Delegate Dan Morhaim
Delegate Dana Stein
Delegate Jon Cardin