PNS Daily Newscast - October 22, 2019 

Trump lashes out at critics who claim he abuses his office; a strike at JFK airport; gun control bills in Wisconsin; a possible link between air pollution and violent crime; and very close foreign elections.

2020Talks - October 22, 2019 

After a settlement instead of what would have been the first trial in the landmark court case on the opioid crisis, we look at what 2020 candidates want to do about drug pricing.

Daily Newscasts

Environmental Groups Pleased, Surprised at Hogan's Pipeline Vote

Columbia Gas, a subsidiary of TransCanada, proposed a gas pipeline through Maryland and beneath the Potomac River. (Chesapeake Climate Action Network)
Columbia Gas, a subsidiary of TransCanada, proposed a gas pipeline through Maryland and beneath the Potomac River. (Chesapeake Climate Action Network)
January 4, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – For two years, environmental groups have warned about the dangers of the Potomac Pipeline – and this week, their voices were heard. The Board of Public Works voted to deny the request from Columbia Gas to construct the distribution line under the Western Maryland Trail.

Opponents had voiced concerns about possible contamination of drinking water and groundwater. They gained the support of 60 General Assembly members, who weighed in claiming the pipeline would reverse course on the state's efforts to protect residents and combat climate change.

Brooke Harper, state director with Chesapeake Climate Action Network, says she was shocked at the board's unanimous vote, because it included Governor Larry Hogan.

"Shocked because Governor Hogan finally heeded the calls of, you know, thousand of folks that have been calling on him to deny the pipeline,” says Harper. “And just overjoyed, because this has been a really hard, grueling two-year effort."

Columbia Gas spokesman Scott Castleman said they were disappointed in the board's decision, adding that it doesn't change the need for or the company's commitment to the Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project.

Harper says she's hoping to keep the momentum going, to ensure that other communities don't have to go through the same ordeal. She thinks more safeguards should be in place, and will back upcoming legislation to meet that goal.

"We'll be getting the fracking-ban bill back together with Sen. Zirkin and Delegate Fraser Heldago,” says Harper. “And they'll be sponsoring a piece of legislation called the Pipeline Water Protection Act, which would mandate that the Department of Environment does a full water-quality certificate and review for any interstate pipeline."

Harper believes legislation would give the state a vehicle to oppose these projects, similar to New York and other states. Columbia Gas says through proper design and construction, Maryland's 3.5 mile part of the project which runs from Pennsylvania to West Virginia could be completed in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD