On the 14th of October, over 350 people participated in “Hands Across the Potomac, a protest against TransCanada’s proposed Potomac Pipeline for fracked gas. After assembling in Shepherdstown, W Va for speakers, protesters marched onto the Rumsey Bridge over the Potomac, lining the downstream rail from W Va to MD.
Protesters are asking MD Governor Hogan to use his authority to scuttle the Potomac Pipeline project, thus backing up the prohibition on fracking gas in MD by blocking a pipeline across MD whose only purpose would be to promote more fracking in nearby Pennsylvania’s already badly damaged shalefields.This was about solidarity between MD and West Virginia, and by both with hard-pressed residents of the Pennsylvania gaslands.
The proposed Potomac Pipeline would run under the Potomac River near Hancok, MD, a bit upsteam of the Rumsey Bridge. The proposed pipeline would deliver fracked gas from Pennsylvania’s shale fields to not yet existing businesses in W Va that have not even proposed to relocate there. It is a “build it and they will come” proposition as one of the speakers said in a natural ampitheater created by a sinkhole on the Shepherdstown side of the bridge. Connections to the pipeline would be too expensive for Mountaineer Gas (TransCanada’s partner in the project) to use it as a local distribution pipeline. In addition the size and pressure proposed for the line would create a 500 foot blast radius around any break, and families with children live within that distance of the proposed pipeline.
True to form, Mountaineer Gas has resorted to eminent domain court, following the example of corporate partner TransCanada’s behavior on the route of their infamous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. One landowner spoke of losing (by eminent domain) the legal right to run trespassing gas company surveyors off at gunpoint and being reduced to shooting video of the trespassers. She spoke of having two families of coyotes already living on her farm and not needing cover created by discarded tree stumps to encourage even more. Coyotes, of course, are far less damaging to any form of agriculture than the two-legged corporate predators now stalking her farm.
Marching onto Rumsey Bridge
Protesters lined Rumsey Bridge from shore to shore
Throwing flowers into the Potomac River from the Rumsey Bridge