On the 30th of May, water protectors opposing the TransCanada/Columbia Gas “Western Panhandle Extension” or Potomac Pipeline gathered at the Western MD rail trail near the proposed river crossing. They were there in response to an unprecendented attempt to use eminent domain against the state of MD itself to resurrect the blocked fracked gas pipeline.
MD’s Board of Public Works voted unanimously to deny an easement for the pipeline to cross state-owned land in January. TransCanada’s subsidiary Columbia Gas Transmission has responded with a lawsuit seeking federal condemnation (eminent domain) of MD owned land so it can be turned over to them for construction and operation of the Potomac Pipeline. The only known customer of the gas would be Rockwool’s very controversial and dirty, under construction insulation plant in W Va. Rockwool is Danish, and TransCanada is Canadian so this pipeline is entirely for the benefit of foreign multinational corporations. Not a single cubic foot of gas would be used for residential gas distribution.
MD’s Board of Public Works has three members: Governor Larry Hogan,Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot, so this is as big as it gets. MD’s top officials have said NO to the Potomac Pipeline. While eminent domain is one of the typical ways the pipeline companies steal from private landowners, this is the very first time a pipeline company has sought to use Federal eminent domain against a state. The Spawn of the Black Snake are strong in MD, so now they seek to strangle the state government itself! If they succeed, all state-owned parks in all states will become targets for similar condemnation lawsuits. First it will be pipelines, then oil and gas drilling. By the time it is over it could even be casinos, as it was in the Supreme Court case that legalized state eminent domain used for the sole purpose of increasing tax revenue from a plot of land.