New Bombshell Analysis Shows Environmental Justice Impacts of Maryland Eastern Shore Pipeline Project

Activists Call on Board of Public Works to Reject Eastern Shore Pipeline Ahead of Key Decision

Board of Public Works expected to issue or reject key permit in early November 

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Top progressive environmental and justice advocates held a telepress conference today, calling on Governor Hogan and the Board of Public Works to reject the proposed Eastern Shore Pipeline project. The BPW is expected to issue a decision on a key permit for the project in early November. 

Activists also released a new spatial analysis, conducted by GIS expert Stephen Metts, showing that the project runs through primarily majority-minority and low-income communities. The topline finding is that there is a predominance of Environmental Justice (EJ)-eligible census block groups up and down the two proposed projects.  In fact, there are only four of 40 one-mile study area tracts that are not EJ-eligible. There is particularly high risk at the head of the Del-Mar project in the city of Salisbury, which is where the developers are planning to site a “renewable natural gas facility” — using waste from livestock, which is associated with a host of additional health threats. 

READ THE FULL ANALYSIS HERE

Email denise@chesapeakeclimate.org to request a recording of the press conference.

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 the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in Somerset County. If built, the Del-Mar pipeline would trigger the second pipeline proposed by Chesapeake Utilities connecting the prison to the university. The installation of the Del-Mar pipeline will impact 1,239 square feet of streams and more than 30,000 square feet of wetlands and wetland buffers. It is anticipated to come online in late 2021. 

“Water is essential to human life all over the world, but here in Maryland, it’s an especially important part of our culture and economy,” said Susan Olsen, chair of the Sierra Club’s Lower Eastern Shore Group. “At a time when clean, renewable energy is affordable and abundant, we shouldn’t be building dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipelines. Our state should reject the Eastern Shore fracked gas pipelines — the health of Maryland’s water, economy, and people depends on it.”

The Board of Public Works is expected to decide on the wetlands permit for the Del-Mar pipeline portion in early November, after Governor Hogan’s Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) recommended approval earlier this month. MDE is still reviewing the impacts the Chesapeake Utilities Project will have on the region’s wetlands and a separate decision on that portion is expected in early 2021.

“Putting in this pipeline will damage my campus community and the local community because it is not sustainable,” said Jailynn Britt, student at University of Maryland Eastern Shore and UMES delegate for the MaryPIRG’s climate justice group. “It will create long-lasting problems that affect the water and the air, which in the long run, hurts the people in this already impoverished community. It also will hurt an already small HBCU, which needs more help, not more problems.”

On the call, activists explained how the Hogan Administration has put its thumb on the scale for this project. While studies have shown that there are cheaper, viable alternatives to gas, including electrification and geothermal energy, the State of Maryland didn’t consider any of these options. Instead, it only requested applications for a gas pipeline to supply gas to two state-run facilities. And every contract that Maryland Environmental Services has awarded since the passage of the fracking ban has unduly prioritized fracked gas. Key excerpts from each of the four contracts awarded are linked here.

“We know that the Eastern Shore, which is essentially surrounded by water, is ground zero for climate change in Maryland,” said Anthony Field, Maryland Grassroots Coordinator at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “We also know that the expansion of dangerous gas infrastructure like this is a major step in the wrong direction. Importing fracked gas runs counter to MD’s commitment to climate action.”

This also comes on the heels of a new white paper released by CCAN, the Sierra Club, and the Wicomico Environmental Trust, showing that these fracked-gas pipelines would be an economic boondoggle. The economics of gas are faltering, with hundreds of gas companies expected to declare bankruptcy by the end of next year. These bankruptcies, combined with Maryland’s commitment to tackling climate change through electrification of buildings, raises concerns that investing in new gas infrastructure will lock ratepayers into paying for decades for a product that will not be viable for that long. 

“It is economically foolish to build the very expensive polluting infrastructure of gas pipelines and equipment, which is already outpriced by highly competitive and non-polluting solar and wind,” said John Groutt of the Wicomico Environmental Trust. “The pipelines will become worthless stranded assets within a very few years, leaving Maryland taxpayers to continue paying for it for years to come.” 

The fracked-gas industry is faltering. Companies behind the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline cancelled the project due to ballooning costs and legal uncertainties. And the Dakota Access pipeline was ordered to shut down for an environmental review.  Meanwhile, in late June, the fracking giant Chesapeake Energy filed for bankruptcy. These setbacks for the industry demonstrate that fracking is a risky investment, for the climate, the environment, and the economy.

These two pipelines are part of the Hogan Administration’s plans to spend $103 million massively increasing fracked-gas pipelines and infrastructure in the state. This includes $30.3 million administered by the Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) new Maryland Gas Expansion Fund “for the expansion of natural gas infrastructure.” The remaining $70 million is recoverable from MD ratepayers. Read more about it here.

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 17 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Paid Fellowship Announcement: Policy Fellowship (Richmond, VA )

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is seeking a talented Policy fellow to assist the Virginia Director with research, policy development, and outreach during the 2021 legislative session. 

Join our Winning Team

Work in the burgeoning climate movement in the increasingly progressive state of Virginia while joining a team of talented advocates and organizers at the forefront of Virginia’s sprint toward clean energy. Work with our diverse and committed supporters as part of a cutting-edge group that Bill McKibben calls “the best grassroots regional climate organization in the world.”  

About Us 

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is the only group in the Chesapeake region of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. dedicated exclusively to building a powerful grassroots movement to fight climate change. We envision an equitable energy future where truly clean sources of power — efficiency, solar and wind — sustain every aspect of our lives, and dirty fossil fuels are phased out.

In Virginia, we fight for solutions that match the scale of the climate crisis the state is facing. Never has our work been more important as we continue to face the dismantling of our climate and environmental protections at the national level. For over a decade, we have been pushing the envelope of what’s “politically possible” in Virginia, using every tool available – from organizing to lobbying to the law. We helped stop an $8 billion pipeline, weakening one of the nation’s most powerful polluters (Dominion Energy), and we are standing in the way of two other fracked gas pipelines. In 2020, we led the charge towards the first 100% clean electricity mandate in the south. 

About the Position 

The Policy fellow will have the skills, passion and commitment to take on one of the biggest problems facing our planet in a state newly committed to tackling it. The ideal candidate will be just as excited to help track bills as they move through the General Assembly as they will to research policy options and generate corresponding memos to Virginia’s state director. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this position will rely heavily on remote project management and the utilization of digital tools. 

What You Will Do

The primary responsibilities of the position include: 

  • Legislative Research:
    • Conduct legislative research, produce legislative memos and talking points focused on phasing out fossil fuels and and reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Monitor and regularly update staff about our priority legislation.
    • Draft and research language for memos and talking points related to environmental justice, fossil fuel and vehicle pollution reduction, and transit.
  • Content Creation:
    • Provide content for CCAN’s websites.
    • Draft policy memos for coalition priority policies
  • Bill outreach and education:
    • Attend at least three meetings to educate legislators, journalists, and other leaders about emerging policy challenges and opportunities.
    • Attend committee meetings to testify on key legislation. 
    • Attend and take notes during related coalition meetings
    • Collaborate with partners to create and execute lobbying strategies to ensure passage of key legislation 
    • Assist with CCAN’s virtual lobby day

Qualifications 

Qualified candidates will display the following capabilities and qualities: 

  • Priority consideration will be given to current university students
  • Commitment to the mission of fighting climate change and promoting environmental justice.
  • Tech-savvy – ability to quickly learn new online tools.
  • Proven ability to be self-driven, while working effectively with a team 
  • Proven ability to multitask, while prioritizing measurable results 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Problem-solver; someone who thinks of solutions more than barriers  

The Details

This fellowship will focus on the Commonwealth of Virginia and will be remote. The Policy fellow reports to the Virginia Director. Mileage reimbursement is available for all CCAN-required travel.

*The Richmond Policy fellow position can be performed remotely until health professionals lift social distancing and telework guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic*

Compensation is $15.00 per hour for 25 hours per week during the Winter/Spring semester over a period of approximately 15 weeks. Anticipated start date is early January, 2021.

How to Apply: Please fill out the Google form application, by November 13th, 2020, 11:59pm EST. You will be prompted to answer a series of short questions and asked to submit a resume. A writing sample is optional.


We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. CCAN is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse workforce. We value bringing a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives on staff because it makes us smarter and more effective at what we do and, ultimately, we want our staff and supporters to reflect the communities we organize. We are seeking to recruit individuals from underrepresented groups to apply for this position.

Job Announcement: Campaign Associate

**Remote option available during COVID-19 pandemic**

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is seeking a talented Campaign Associate to help advance our justice-centered movement toward clean energy in Congress and Maryland.  A dream job for the right candidate, you will help Congress pass sweeping national climate legislation and participate in state-based policy as well. 

Join our Winning Team

Step into a leadership role in the climate movement as a once-in-a-lifetime policy window in Congress appears to be opening.  Work with our diverse and committed supporters as part of a cutting-edge group that Bill McKibben calls “the best grassroots regional climate organization in the world.”  The Campaign  Associate will be joining CCAN at a critical time – a time where poor leadership and systemic inequities have worsened the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, especially in our most vulnerable communities. We need bold action to get us out of this crisis —  the same kind of ambitious action needed to solve the climate crisis.

About Us 

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is the only group in the Chesapeake region of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. dedicated exclusively to building a powerful grassroots movement to fight climate change. We envision an equitable energy future where truly clean sources of power — efficiency, solar and wind — sustain every aspect of our lives, and dirty fossil fuels are phased out of all communities.

In Congress and in Maryland, we fight for solutions that match the scale of the climate crisis. Never has our work been more important as the potential for Congressional victories comes into focus. For over a decade, we have been pushing the envelope of what’s “politically possible” using every tool available – from organizing to lobbying to the law. Just in the past three years we have stopped multiple pipelines, banned fracking in Maryland, and passed a 100% carbon free electricity standard in VA and DC. 

About the Position 

The Campaign Associate will be part of a small, effective team working to pass bold climate bills in Congress and in Maryland. We are looking for a resilient, creative, and strategic problem-solver to join our team. The ideal candidate will see opportunities to influence elected officials, mobilize constituents, and navigate the legislative process to urge faster and more equitable change to address the climate crisis. They will be energized by developing legislative strategies, researching, lobbying, and mobilizing grassroots supporters to take meaningful action.  

What You Will Do

We are looking for someone who can keep track of the larger picture and inform overall strategy while executing the following responsibilities: 

  • Legislative Advocacy: The Campaign Associate will, in coordination with the Policy Director, develop  and execute plans to move key lawmakers. This includes background research, campaign design, and direct lobbying.  
  • Policy Research: As legislation and amendments move in real time, you will engage in accurate and well-documented research into a range of policy issues of importance to CCAN. You will write policy memos of varying length and on deadline as requested. You will make recommendations for organizational positions on policies. 
  • Targeted Field Work: You will work with coalition allies to mobilize in-district support for justice-centered climate legislation. This could include writing action alerts, calling grasstops leaders, and managing volunteer champions to achieve outcomes.    

Qualifications 

In addition to a commitment to the mission of fighting climate change and promoting environmental justice, qualified candidates will display the following capabilities and qualities: 

  • At least 2-4 years experience working on issue-based or political campaigns. Experience working or advocating on Capitol Hill is preferred
  • Ability to self motivate, manage multiple projects simultaneously, and meet deadlines 
  • Demonstrated lobbying experience and policy knowledge; preferably in climate policy and/or environmental justice
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Problem-solver; someone who thinks of solutions more than barriers  
  • Ability to stay on top of multiple projects without dropping any balls, plan backwards and anticipate obstacles, identify and involve stakeholders appropriately, and use resources wisely

The Details

The Campaign Associate will be an initially remote position, but will eventually require in person lobbying on Capitol Hill. The Campaign Associate reports to the Policy Director.

Salary is commensurate with experience with a range of $40k-50k. We provide a generous benefits package including health care, dental and vision coverage and 4 weeks’ paid vacation. 

How to Apply: 

Please fill out the Google form application, you will be prompted to answer a series of short questions and asked to submit a resume. A writing sample is optional.

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. CCAN is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse workforce. We value bringing a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives on staff because it makes us smarter and more effective at what we do and, ultimately, we want our staff and supporters to reflect the communities we organize. We are seeking to recruit individuals from underrepresented groups to apply for this position.

FERC Grants Mountain Valley Pipeline Permit Despite Continued Doubts It Will Be Completed

Controversial Fracked Gas Pipeline Still Lacks Essential Authorizations

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP) permission to resume construction, even though the beleaguered fracked gas project still lacks some necessary authorizations. Industry watchers are growing increasingly skeptical of MVP’s future after a similar fracked gas pipeline, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, was cancelled as a result of similar permitting and legal challenges. Over a dozen environmental advocacy organizations have opposed MVP’s request.

Planned to run over 300 miles through West Virginia and Virginia, state inspectors have already identified hundreds of violations of commonsense water protections, and MVP has paid millions of dollars in penalties. There are also questions about whether MVP is accurately reporting how much of the project has been completed, with one analysis showing it is only 51% finished. At this time the project is at least $2 billion over budget, two years behind schedule, and developers admit they need two more years to complete the project. 

In response, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Senior Campaign Representative Joan Walker released the following statement:

“MVP has violated commonsense water protections hundreds of times and allowing them to resume construction just means putting more communities at risk for an unnecessary pipeline that may never even be built. FERC is supposed to regulate these fracked gas projects, not roll over for them.”

Roberta Bondurant of Preserve Bent Mountain/BREDL said:

“MVP construction crews have yet to traverse the most intense and well known geohazards —steep, in some places, nearly vertical slopes, slip prone soils, karst, and earthquakes— in the height of a global pandemic, during hurricane season —these multiple geohazards make today’s FERC/MVP plan to resume construction maniacal, wholly destructive to land, forest, water and living beings. With such challenges ahead, MVP’s promises to complete by any time in 2021 simply fly in the face of fact. People and places in the path of MVP are not disposable—we won’t be sacrificed for MVP investment returns.” 

Russell Chisholm, Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights Co-chair said:

“FERC’s dangerous decision is an attempt to rescue MVP from their own mismanagement despite years of delays and documented failures. FERC favors energy policy by force, rewards negligence over the objections of thousands, ignores the evidence of harm to our communities, and shamefully denies climate realities. To do this as the COVID-19 crisis spreads through rural Virginia and West Virginia puts MVP and FERC’s disregard for our safety on full display.”

David Sligh, Conservation Director of Wild Virginia said:

“This is another in a long list of irresponsible decisions by FERC. In allowing construction to proceed while MVP still lacks required permits, the Commission is enabling the corporation’s attempt to rush ahead, heedless of the harm already done and that which is sure to follow if this decision stands. The MVP is still not a done deal and FERC’s collusion with the frackers won’t make it so.”

Jessica Sims, Virginia Field Coordinator with Appalachian Voices said:

“It’s clear that MVP is pulling out all the stops to rush this project through, and FERC is letting them get away with it. The agency ignored the 43,000 people who vigorously opposed this project moving forward, and disregarded the hundreds of water quality violations racked up so far. This pipeline was not needed when it was proposed, and is even less needed now. We will continue fighting to stop it.” 

Anne Havemann, General Counsel at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said: 

“FERC’s decision is unconscionable. Coronavirus is still raging in Virginia and now FERC is allowing fracked-gas companies to push through another health hazard. Tens of thousands of Virginians oppose this pipeline because they know we don’t need it. We will keep fighting it until we win.” 

Jared Margolis, Senior Attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said:

“FERC is clearly not interested in protecting the public or ensuring that massive fossil fuel pipelines like MVP actually comply with the law. This project is a travesty that should never have been approved, and now it is being allowed to proceed even after devastating environmental harm from construction activities. We will continue to fight this horrible project to protect the people, wildlife and waterways in its path.”

CONTACT: Doug Jackson, 202.495.3045 or doug.jackson@sierraclub.org

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Meet a CCANer: Jamie DeMarco

Tell me a little bit about yourself!

I grew up in northeast Baltimore and attended Warren Wilson College in western North Carolina, where I majored in Chemistry and Environmental Studies. Towards the end of undergrad I interned for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and when I graduated I got a job working at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. I helped found the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs initiative and then took a job working for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. I was raised Quaker, and my faith community remains important to me today. 

What woke you up to the climate crisis?

Until I was a senior in high school, as far as I could tell the world was pretty hunky dory. Then my girlfriend told me, “Jamie, the lives we live come at the cost of people and places all over the world.” I was floored and could hardly live with myself and the consequences of my privilege. 

At first, I didn’t know what to do, so I tried to cut myself off entirely from the unjust system I grew up in. I stopped riding in cars and wouldn’t get in a car for years with only the very rare exception. Then, in college I started working on the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign. I saw the power of organizing, and we shut down that coal plant. I decided to stop trying to not be part of the problem and start trying to be part of the solution. 

What impacts of climate change currently hit home to you? 

A street in Baltimore after a heavy rain event.

I grew up in Baltimore, and my home city is now suing the fossil fuel industry for the costs that climate change has caused. The sewer system cannot handle the increased precipitation events. The inner harbor is flooding ever more regularly. Heat waves are killing more and more people in the city. Just a few years ago, the road my dad’s office is on collapsed from heavy rain and disrepair.  

What brought you to CCAN? 

I like fighting for and passing bold climate legislation. More than any organization I know of, CCAN picks an ambitious legislative goal, goes all out to campaign for it, wins, then does it again. 

I love Maryland and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere outside the Chesapeake watershed. Working at CCAN gives me the opportunity to stay connected to my roots while making a difference in local and national politics. 

What has inspired you most working with CCAN?

I have always been inspired by the dedication of supporters. It is clear that the greater CCAN family is deeply committed to climate justice and doing whatever it takes to achieve it. Whether it is phone banking for hours or jumping in the frozen Potomac, these people will do it. 

What have you contributed to bringing about a clean energy revolution that you are most proud of?

I have worked on a lot of successful campaigns including my college divestment campaign, the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign, the Maryland Fracking Ban, the Clean Energy DC Act, enacting the Oregon executive order, and others. The campaign worked most intimately on and put the most of my soul into was the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs campaign in 2019. 

What do you hope to see happen in terms of climate in the next year?

I think that by August 2021 we will have enacted the Clean Air Act of our time at the national level. After years of building, our movement has reached a crescendo and is now a top issue in national politics. I came to CCAN in part because I want to be part of making sure we do pass sweeping climate legislation in Congress.

What do you like to do when you’re not working on climate change?

What I value most is spending quality time with my friends and family, laughing, playing board games, and catching up. I enjoy running but still don’t run as much as I want to. I miss a lot of my friends now that we all have to social distance, but I also appreciate spending more time alone to relax. 

Who would you high five?

Bill McKibben. He’s the one who roped me into this mess. 

Meet a CCANer: Kim Jemaine

Virginia mountains

Kim Jemaine is CCAN’s new Virginia Director.

Tell me a little bit about yourself! 

I’m originally from Pretoria, South Africa but have called Virginia home for the last 20 years. I’ve been lucky enough to work throughout the Commonwealth on electoral and issue advocacy campaigns. I have spent the last three years working in the environmental policy realm and come to CCAN from a role as the Public Policy Manager for the League of Conservation Voters. I also received both my degrees from Virginia schools, obtaining a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Mary Washington and an M.A. in Government with a concentration in Law and Public Policy from Regent University.

What woke you up to the climate crisis?

My awakening to the climate crisis came less from a singular event and more through education and an understanding of science. As a mother, I feel an obligation to be a part of the work to secure a livable planet for our children. Furthermore, my time in the environmental sphere has opened my eyes to the reality that certain demographics bear the weight of layers of injustice, specifically when it comes to climate change, pollution, and environmental degradation. I believe that it’s a moral imperative to confront this fact and do the work to lift those burdens through policy implementation and systemic change. 

What impacts of climate change currently hit home to you? 

I know that in order to secure a livable climate for my daughter, we have to be deliberate about combating climate change now. It is a fight that has been put off for far too long and cannot wait any longer.

What brought you to CCAN? 

CCAN boasts a robust grassroots base as well as a history of legislative victories. This role perfectly marries my experience in grassroots organizing and my recent work within environmental public policy. CCAN is on the forefront of advocating for big, transformative solutions to the climate crisis, and I want to be a part of promoting that vision in Virginia. 

What has inspired you most working with CCAN?

Although I’ve only been with CCAN for a short time, it has been energizing to be surrounded by a team that is so proactive about thinking through, researching, and promoting climate solutions.

What have you contributed to bringing about a clean energy revolution that you are most proud of?

Within my previous role, I was granted an opportunity to play a small part in a number of the climate victories (VCEA, RGGI, and Environmental Justice) during the 2020 Legislative Session in Virginia. 

What do you hope to see happen in terms of climate in the next year?

I’d like to see widespread acceptance of the fact that climate change is real and has to be confronted through deliberate and thoughtful action by legislators, advocates, and industry leaders. 

In terms of policy, I hope to see movement toward transforming our transportation systems and making transit more reliable, accessible, and affordable for all Virginians.

What do you like to do when you’re not working on climate change?

I like to hike, read, travel, eat good food, and spend time with my family.

Who would you high five?

I would high five Dr. Ayana Johnson. She is a marine biologist and works heavily in conservation policy and climate solutions.