Eastern Shore Pipeline Project
Natural gas as a source of energy has many of the same drawbacks as other fossil fuels. While it burns much more cleanly than coal or oil, and its spills result in a leak of methane to the atmosphere instead of direct pollution of rivers and soils, it still represents a serious contributor to global warming. The largest source is a process called fracking, which generates everything from toxic contamination of wells to earthquakes. Methane is also many times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Maryland has recognized the dangers and drawbacks of natural gas fracking and banned the process statewide in 2017 due to environmental risks. Yet, at the same time that the Pennsylvania-to-New York Constitution and Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast natural gas pipelines have been cancelled, Maryland has given preliminary approval to construction of a natural gas pipeline between Salisbury and Princess Anne. This seems like a small project, but it represents a serious step backwards in developing renewable energy solutions. In addition, the construction would impact approximately 1,239 square feet of nontidal stream waters, 16,647 square feet of emergent nontidal wetlands and 14,777 square feet of nontidal wetlands buffer.
Wicomico Environmental Trust President Dan O’Hare has spoken eloquently about some of the effects of this proposed fracked gas pipeline extension through Wicomico County. Dan notes that that we are at a figurative crossroads; that we can choose to continue on the destructive and extractive path of dependence on fossil fuels, or we can invest in renewable sources of energy. But how do we get to that new path when we are so dependent on our existing energy systems?
Robert Rodale, founder of the Rodale Institute and global advocate for regenerative agriculture, observed in his last book, Save Three Lives, that “third world” nations have a distinct advantage over more developed ones in that they need not dismantle an unsustainable system before they can build a sustainable system.
Along with the many harmful impacts of the current coronavirus pandemic, an opportunity also exists to realize that our unsustainable system is being dismantled for us. The pandemic has exposed the fragility and abject failure of our industrial food system, our health care system, our law enforcement and judicial system and most of all our consumerism based economy. We can do better and we know how. We can rebuild a better world based on justice and mercy; on need, not greed.
Thomas Berry wrote in his book Dream of the Earth that our global citizenry must come to the realization that the path we are on will become much more inconvenient than the path we must take, and that a shift in the current paradigm will require a transformative revelation on a global scale. What on Earth could be so massive to be able to raise the global consciousness to that level? Hello, Covid-19!
If we continue to sicken the planet we will continue to sicken ourselves. We must move on from an extractive model to a restorative model in all we do, to save not only ourselves, but our planet as well.
We can start by rejecting continued development of infrastructure that supports fossil fuels. The Friends of the Nanticoke River are going on record opposing this project. The public comment period ends July 21 for the Wetlands permit with Maryland Dept. of the Environment. Individual comments are also needed, so if you can, please e-mail Mary Phipps-Dickerson, and express your concern about this project’s impacts.
Our voices can make a difference!
With wishes for your well-being and safety,
"The threats and dangers to our health, land, and climate just keep coming.
Two proposed pipelines would connect to bring fracked gas from Delaware into Maryland down the Eastern Shore, threatening the region’s ecosystems and drinking water supplies, and causing irreparable damage to the land and our climate.
The public has been consistently left in the dark by the Hogan Administration when it comes to these dangerous projects. But we do know that these pipelines would cross farms, forests, and countless waterways that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. They would also worsen global warming, bringing more sea-level rise to the already vulnerable tidal regions of the Eastern Shore.
Given that Maryland has banned fracking, it defies our state’s existing energy policy to bring the same public health risks to our communities by way of pipelines. Additionally, the gas that would be transported through these pipelines to power the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the Eastern Shore Correctional Institute is being touted as a “clean alternative.
At a time when we need to protect our community from the coronavirus crisis, we do NOT need another crisis at our doorstep. " Anthony Field, Maryland Campaign Coordinator, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
The Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company (ESNG) wants to build 19+ miles of new pipeline to carry fracked gas from Delaware and Maryland.
The pipeline is already under construction in Delaware to carry gas from that state into Maryland. The seven miles of pipeline proposed for Maryland would supply concentrated animal feeding operations, businesses, and residential areas. The two “anchor” customers for gas delivery are the Eastern Correctional Institute (ECI) and University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in Somerset County. If built, the Del-Mar pipeline would trigger another pipeline to connect the prison to the university.
These two facilities currently generate heat from environmentally damaging fuel sources (wood chips for ECI and a mix of fuel oil and propane for UMES)). Replacing one harmful fuel source with another, however, is not the solution. Investing in gas will lock the facilities and region into reliance on this fossil fuel for at least a decade to come. In 2008, a forward-thinking UMES President pledged to go carbon neutral by 2050. Gas, primarily made of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, is not a climate solution.
The installation of the Del-Mar pipeline will impact 1,239 square feet of streams and more than 16,000 square feet of wetlands.