Communications and Social Media Fall Internship

FALL INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY: COMMUNICATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA INTERNSHIP

*Remote option available during COVID-19 pandemic*

DESCRIPTION
With a Trump presidency, state-based climate action has never been more important. It’s the collective fortress of the environmental movement. And state-based, people-powered, climate action is what we do here at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).

We’re the largest and oldest grassroots group fighting for bold and just solutions to climate change in the Chesapeake region of Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland.

We’ve put a stop to new coal plants in Virginia, brought 100% clean power to Washington DC, and fully banned fracking in Maryland.

OUR CAMPAIGNS

In 2020, we’re going to keep fighting: to stop massive fracked-gas pipelines across the farms and forests of Virginia, to bring a Climate Stimulus to Maryland, and to make DC a national leader on climate action — right in Trump’s backyard.

We and our 70,000 supporters surrounding the nation’s capital are going to keep building the powerfully diverse grassroots climate movement our region needs – building local resistance, raising our voices, and taking concrete action.

And under a Trump presidency, we’ll be fighting for more than energy justice. Trump is a threat to all of our progressive values and we will work with our progressive allies across the region for paid sick days for all workers, an increased minimum wage, and more. We will pitch in wherever we can.

OUR COMMUNICATIONS INTERNSHIP

Interns at CCAN work side-by-side with our experienced communications experts to create compelling content and run impactful media campaigns across our region. They gain valuable experience for careers in the communications and media industries.

SPECIFICALLY, YOUR TASKS WILL INCLUDE

  • Learning the ins-and-outs of managing media lists and reaching out to reporters.
  • Developing fluency in a website management system for creating and sharing content on multiple websites.
  • Drafting social media posts and analyzing social media content.
  • Researching best practices for social media and search engine optimization.
  • Conceptualizing, editing, and/or drafting blog posts and language for the website.
  • And having an amazing opportunity to learn what it’s like to work at an organization that climate activist Bill McKibben has called the “best regional climate organization in the world.”

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR

  • A driving passion to combat climate change despite a climate denier in the White House, and secure clean energy victories.
  • A commitment to a fair and equitable energy future.
  • A keen eye for new technologies and computer systems.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Excellent written and verbal skills.
  • A quick learner.
  • A good understanding of social media spheres.
  • And a sense of humor!

LOCATION
This internship will be remote during the coronavirus pandemic.

DETAILS
Internships are typically 15-20 hours per week from early September through end of November for the fall semester. Exact timing to be determined based on your course schedule.

Internships at CCAN are primarily education-focused, to arm you with experience toward your career and life goals. Interns receive a limited reimbursement for incidental expenditures. We encourage you to pursue course credit for this internship, or external grant opportunities if those are available, and we will support these pursuits in any way we can.

TO APPLY
To apply, fill out the following Google Form Application, where you will be prompted to upload your resume, cover letter and a writing sample. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Northam Calls for Action on Climate — But Ignores Fracked-Gas

Northam Must Commit to Stopping Fracked-Gas Pipelines to Address the Climate Crisis

RICHMOND, VA — Today, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam  stood before a packed room of clean energy advocates and business leaders to announce Executive Order 43. This order aims to address the climate crisis by creating a plan to produce thirty percent of Virginia’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 and one hundred percent of Virginia’s electricity from “carbon-free sources” by 2050.

Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, released the following statement:

“Governor Northam’s commitment to a 100% carbon-free energy future by 2050 and 30% renewable energy by 2030 is one of the most ambitious climate action goals in the South. We applaud his efforts to lead by example at the state agency level, address environmental justice, and commit to workforce development.

“But Northam’s order ignores the fracked-gas elephant in the room. If we are going to solve the climate crisis, we cannot continue supporting and investing in proposed fracked-gas pipelines like the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. One place to start would be directing his Department of Environmental Quality to issue stop-work orders for those projects.

“Additionally, the Governor’s plan just doesn’t go far enough on climate. The world’s top scientists all agree that we must cut global carbon emissions in half by 2030 and Virginia must do its part. We plan to work with Governor Northam, the General Assembly, and the burgeoning grassroots climate movement in Virginia to craft a solution that matches the urgency of this crisis.”

CONTACT:
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, 608-620-8819, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org 

Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director, 804-305-1472, harrison@chesapeakeclimate.org 

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest 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. For more information, visit www.chesapeakeclimate.org.

BREAKING: Federal Agency Asks Fish and Wildlife Service to Start Over on Crucial Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

Reinitiation of Endangered Species Act Consultation Should Halt All Work on Fracked Gas Pipeline

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency tasked with reviewing and approving interstate gas pipelines, requested that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reinitiate consultation on its Endangered Species Act permit for the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline. Because the project does not have a valid Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement, all work on the pipeline should halt until a new one is issued. Today’s announcement comes one week after a coalition of conservation groups requested a stay while courts review their legal challenge to the FWS’s approval for the 303-mile pipeline.

In response, Sierra Club Staff Attorney Elly Benson released the following statement:

“We have said all along that there is no right way to build this dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipeline. Mountain Valley Pipeline has already destroyed and degraded the habitat of endangered species, and all construction should be halted immediately. It’s going to take more than half-measures to protect our endangered species, climate, and communities. Mountain Valley Pipeline should read the writing on the wall and shut this project down once and for all.”

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s General Counsel Anne Havemann stated: 

“The rush to build this unnecessary and harmful pipeline has polluted drinking water, harmed livelihoods, triggered landslides, and further threatened already endangered species. Despite the devastation that construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline has left in its wake and despite the lack of valid permits, construction on much of this dangerous pipeline continues. FERC must stop work on the entire pipeline — to do otherwise is completely unacceptable.”

David Sligh, Conservation Director for Wild Virginia stated:

“The Mountain Valley Pipeline threatens some of our most sensitive and precious species and must be stopped. Regulators at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have now agreed with advocates that the Fish and Wildlife Service failed in its duty under the Endangered Species Act. Now the Service must go back and do the job right. We are confident that an honest analysis will show that this pipeline cannot be built without harming these species and and it should be abandoned.”

Jason Rylander, Senior Endangered Species Counsel for Defenders of Wildlife stated:

“The Fish and Wildlife Service’s original biological opinion was wholly inadequate to protect imperiled species in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Further construction on the pipeline must cease while the Service conducts this necessary review of its impacts.” 

Roberta Bondurant, of Preserve Bent Mountain, stated:

“Under MVP construction we’ve witnessed a financially failing fox assert it could guard the henhouse, while disregarding and flaunting all rules in broad daylight, in plain view. MVP has given new meaning to the word ‘lawless.’ We persevere in seeking a full stay of construction in protection of our fragile species, our great places. For our next generations, we seek the Rule of Law.”

Jared Margolis, of the Center for Biological Diversity, stated:

“There’s no doubt that the Mountain Valley Pipeline is a disaster for imperiled wildlife and our waterways, but FERC needs to do more than simply renew its analysis of those threats. This pipeline should be cancelled entirely to protect the public interest and prevent further harm to our climate. Regulators need to stop putting corporate profits ahead of safeguarding our environment.”

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Potomac Pipeline Victory: Federal Court Dismisses Columbia Gas’ Lawsuit

CONTACT:
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, 240-630-1889, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org
Fritz Schneider, Director of Communications, Potomac Riverkeeper Network, 301.728.4811, fritz@prknetwork.org

BALTIMORE, MD — Today, in a victory for environmentalists and concerned Maryland residents, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland rejected Columbia Gas’ effort to force a fracked-gas pipeline underneath Maryland public lands. In January, Governor Hogan and the Maryland Board of Public Works unanimously rejected a right-of-way easement for what is known as the “Potomac Pipeline” project underneath the Western Maryland Rail/Trail. Columbia Gas Transmission, which is owned by TransCanada Corp., filed its lawsuit in May to seize this land through eminent domain. This attempt by a private corporation to take public land through eminent domain is unprecedented in Maryland. 

Representatives of top Maryland environmental groups responded: 

Kirsten Collings, Deputy Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network: 

“Today, justice prevailed. Fossil fuel companies have acted as if they are above the law for too long. Columbia Gas wants to trample over states’ rights and steal our precious public land, all for a dangerous pipeline that we don’t even need. This would have set a dangerous precedent in Maryland. Our state decisionmakers have the right to protect our communities — to do so is a cornerstone of our democracy.”

Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper: 

“This attempt by Columbia Gas was nothing more than a heavy-handed ploy to take public land owned by and for the benefit of all Marylanders, just so that it could build a risky pipeline which no one needs that, would threaten the source of drinking water for millions, and provides no benefit at all to the citizens of Maryland. 

“All of us who are aware of the dangers to water and a way of life posed by the pipeline sincerely hope that this ruling is the end of the matter. We don’t need or want this pipeline and the risk of construction and operation would be simply too great.”

Patrick Grenter, Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club: 

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the state of Maryland, the environment, and all those who get drinking water from the Potomac River. After 2 years of continued opposition from the public and elected officials, and now a US District Court, we hope Columbia Gas finally understands that there is no place in Maryland for this dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipeline.”

Additional Information: 

The decision comes after the Office of the Attorney General, representing the Department of Natural Resources, responded to Columbia Gas’ motion for a preliminary injunction, opposing the injunction and filing its own motion to dismiss the case. The State argued that “the pipeline project directly contravenes not only the State’s sovereignty, but also the State’s energy policy” and asked the federal court to dismiss the case. 

In June, 62 Maryland legislators released a letter publicly opposing Columbia Gas’ attempt to force through the pipeline. The legislators also declared their support for the Department of Natural Resources’ defense against this lawsuit. 

This pipeline has faced two years of public opposition from the public, grassroots groups, and legislators representing Maryland, West Virginia, and DC. In December 2018, 63 Maryland legislators called on Governor Hogan, Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot to reject the easement to build underneath the Rail/Trail. Dozens of activists also rallied at the Western Maryland Rail/Trail in Hancock on May 30th after the Columbia Gas filed the complaint.

Surface and groundwater, including drinking water sources, can suffer long-term harm during the construction of fracked-gas pipelines. A drilling blowout can release toxic drilling fluids into the soil and adjacent waters and construction can alter routes and rates of water flow. Once in operation, gas pipelines continue to pose contamination dangers. Pipeline leaks and failures can release methane, an explosive safety hazard and a potent greenhouse gas. 

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About the Sierra Club:

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

About Chesapeake Climate Action Network:

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 16 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.chesapeakeclimate.org

About the Potomac Riverkeeper Network:

Potomac Riverkeeper Network is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with three regional Waterkeeper branches: Potomac Riverkeeper, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper and Shenandoah Riverkeeper. Our mission is to protect the public’s right to clean water in our rivers and streams. We stop pollution to promote safe drinking water, protect healthy habitats, and enhance public use and enjoyment. For more information, visit http://www.potomacriverkeepernetwork.org.

Advocates & Elected Officials Rally in Support of State of Maryland’s Defense Against Columbia Gas Lawsuit

Organizations and elected officials held a press conference to show support for the state’s legal defense against Columbia Gas’ attempted land grab 

Baltimore, MD — Today, August 13th, state and local elected officials and advocates gathered in front of the Edward A. Garmatz U.S. Courthouse to support the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ “motion to dismiss” the eminent domain lawsuit by Columbia Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of TransCanada. Columbia Gas is suing to force the state to allow it to build a highly controversial fracked-gas pipeline underneath the Western Maryland Rail/Trail. In January, the Governor Hogan and the Maryland Board of Public Works unanimously rejected this right-of-way easement for what is known as the “Potomac Pipeline” project.

Facebook Live video available to watch here

High-res photos available upon request

Advocates held a mock “people’s court” with speakers serving as witnesses to explain that Columbia Gas is guilty of endangering the drinking water for millions and going against the will of the people and elected officials of Maryland. Activists called on Columbia Gas to stop their attempt to override the State’s sovereignty and energy policy and for the federal court to dismiss the case.

This pipeline has faced two years of sustained opposition from the public, grassroots groups, and legislators representing Maryland, West Virginia, and DC. Last month, 62 Maryland Legislators released a public letter opposing the lawsuit and supporting the state’s legal defense. 

QUOTES

Delegate Lorig Charkoudian, District 20:

“As legislators, it’s our job to represent Marylanders and that’s why we strongly oppose a private corporation’s attempt to seize a public park, owned by the state and used regularly by Marylanders for bicycling, hiking, jogging, and inline skating, through the extraordinary power of eminent domain. Back in January, Maryland unequivocally denied Columbia Gas the right to use this land to build their pipeline. We continue to stand with Marylanders to tell Columbia Gas that we don’t want your unnecessary and harmful pipeline in our state.”

Patrick Grenter, Senior Campaign Representative of Sierra Club:

“Over and over again, Marylanders have stood up to say they don’t want fracking, they don’t want fracked gas, and they don’t want Columbia Gas’ dirty pipeline. We’re holding this rally in hopes that Columbia Gas will finally get the message — keep your dirty, dangerous pipeline out of Maryland.”

Brooke Harper, Maryland Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network: 

“Our governor, our legislators, and Maryland residents have repeatedly rejected this pipeline. It’s enraging that Columbia Gas wants to force this dirty fracked gas pipeline underneath America’s River. We hope the courts will stand with the people today and dismiss Columbia Gas’ attempt to override our democracy for a dangerous fracked-gas pipeline.”

Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper

“Columbia Gas is a corporate ‘bully’ that uses its fabricated need of fracked gas for corporate gains to their international shareholders. Columbia gas is guilty of pushing homeowners into signing contracts on a pipeline that not only endangers their drinking water, but their safety as well. And now, Columbia Gas is bullying the State of Maryland to give up it’s sovereign rights to state property.”

Tracy Cannon of Eastern Panhandle Protectors:

“Columbia Gas is guilty of working to build this poisonous pipeline with Mountaineer Gas of WV. This pipeline would be a dedicated line to one place- the highly polluting Rockwool insulation factory in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.”

CONTACT:
Doug Jackson, Sierra Club, 202.495.3045, doug.jackson@sierraclub.org 
Denise Robbins, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, 240.630.1889, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org 

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About the Sierra Club: 

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org

About Chesapeake Climate Action Network:

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 16 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.chesapeakeclimate.org 

About the Potomac Riverkeeper Network:

Potomac Riverkeeper Network is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with three regional Waterkeeper branches: Potomac Riverkeeper, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper and Shenandoah Riverkeeper. Our mission is to protect the public’s right to clean water in our rivers and streams. We stop pollution to promote safe drinking water, protect healthy habitats, and enhance public use and enjoyment. For more information, visit http://www.potomacriverkeepernetwork.org

New Lawsuit Launched Against Mountain Valley Pipeline

RICHMOND, Va. — Conservation groups today launched a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The petition for review of the project was filed with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service, which administers the Endangered Species Act, issued an opinion that allowed the pipeline to move forward — despite its serious threats to endangered species. The agency failed to accurately measure the pipeline’s impacts on endangered wildlife like the iconic Roanoke logperch and failed to set limits for how many threatened and endangered bats can be harmed or killed. 

The lawsuit seeks to vacate the Service’s decision and force the agency to re-evaluate the project’s impact. The groups argue that construction on the already-foundering pipeline should stop until that process is complete. 

Today, the groups also sent a letter to the agency requesting that it stay the biological opinion and incidental take statement pending court review. The species at issue include the Roanoke logperch, Indiana bat and Northern long-eared bat. The suit was filed by the Sierra Club on behalf of Wild Virginia, Appalachian Voices, Preserve Bent Mountain/BREDL, Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, and Chesapeake Climate Action Network. 

Additionally, MVP does not have Clean Water Act authorization to cross streams and wetlands from the Army Corps, and does not have necessary U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management authorizations.

In response, Sierra Club Staff Attorney Elly Benson released the following statement:

“The fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline puts several endangered species in harm’s way, while serving only to line the pockets of polluting corporations. MVP has proven it can’t build this unnecessary pipeline without devastating streams and rivers, as well as the forest habitats of  Appalachia. The public should be able to trust that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is making protection of endangered species its highest priority, but it fell short of that obligation here.”

David Sligh, Conservation Director for Wild Virginia stated:

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, like numerous other government agencies tasked with protecting the public and our resources, failed to do its job. Citizens cannot and will not accept actions that endanger the future of some of our rarest and most precious wildlife species. This destructive pipeline has already caused great damage to the environment and the public and it must be stopped before that damage gets worse.”

Roberta Bondurant, Preserve Bent Mountain/BREDL, said:

“Our mountain communities continue to witness MVP ravage the forest, field, stream and wetland sanctuaries of species that have supposedly been protected by federal law. We ask USFWS and the courts to do no more—and no less—than uphold that law through a critical review of the Biological Opinion. At best, the writers of that document ignored evidence of MVP construction as a threat to species survival—survival which will ultimately implicate our own.”

Anne Havemann, General Counsel for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, stated: 

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proven its carelessness in forcing through a permit for the similarly destructive Atlantic Coast Pipeline. We have seen this same carelessness in the Service’s permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. This pipeline has already wreaked havoc on the landscape; it must not be allowed to continue to jeopardize the existence of our invaluable endangered species.” 

Jared Margolis, Center for Biological Diversity senior attorney, said:

“This pipeline is a major threat to the Roanoke River system and the people and imperiled species that rely on it. Regulators can’t keep shrugging off the environmental harms of pipeline projects. We need to stop destroying habitats and waterways for fossil fuels that are driving the climate catastrophe.”

Jason Rylander, Senior Endangered Species Counsel for Defenders of Wildlife, said:

“The Mountain Valley Pipeline poses an enormous threat to the fish, wildlife, forests, and people in its path. The Trump administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fast-tracked this project and failed to properly evaluate its impact on imperiled species. The Service needs to reconsider its biological opinion and further construction of this environmentally destructive project should cease before iconic species and landscapes are lost forever.” 

Contact: Doug Jackson, Sierra Club, (202) 495-3045 or doug.jackson@sierraclub.org
Jared Margolis, Center for Biological Diversity, (802) 310-4054, jmargolis@biologicaldiversity.org

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CCAN Statement: Offshore Wind Staging Center to Make Green Jobs in Baltimore A Reality

SPARROWS POINT, MD — Yesterday, officials with Tradepoint Atlantic and Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind announced the construction of Maryland’s first offshore wind energy staging center in Baltimore County. 

Mike Tidwell, Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, stated in response: 

“The promise of high-quality green jobs in Baltimore from Maryland’s burgeoning offshore wind industry is no longer just a promise. As of Tuesday, it became a reality with the announcement of 1400 new jobs to come with Orsted’s offshore wind energy staging center planned for Baltimore County.

“We are delighted that this facility will be built at the site of a former steel mill in Sparrows Point, where jobs are sorely needed. Now we will not only bring 120 megawatts of good, clean electricity powered by the ocean winds to 35,000 Maryland homes, but we will also see an economic boon in the Baltimore region. 

“We congratulate all involved, including former Governor Martin O’Malley and his staff, who worked tirelessly with advocates during his administration to create this vision for offshore wind jobs in Maryland.”

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CONTACT:
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, 240-630-1889, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org
Mike Tidwell, Director, mtidwell@chesapeakeclimate.org

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest 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. 

Maryland Legislators Release Open Letter Opposing Columbia Gas Lawsuit to Seize Public Lands for Dangerous “Potomac Pipeline”

Sign-on Letter Comes Day After AG Files Motions/Briefs to Fight Back Against Attempted Land Grab

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Today, 62 Maryland legislators released a letter publicly opposing Columbia Gas’ attempt to seize through eminent domain the right-of-way to build a highly controversial fracked-gas pipeline underneath the Western Maryland Rail/Trail. The legislators also declared their support for the Department of Natural Resources’ defense against this lawsuit. In January, the Maryland Board of Public Works unanimously rejected this right-of-way easement for what is known as the “Potomac Pipeline” project.
This letter comes the day after the Office of the Attorney General, representing the Department of Natural Resources, filed a response in opposition to Columbia Gas’s motion for a preliminary injunction and a motion to dismiss the entire case. The State argued in its response that “the pipeline project directly contravenes not only the State’s sovereignty, but also the State’s energy policy” and asked the federal court to dismiss the case.
This pipeline has faced two years of public opposition from the public, grassroots groups, and legislators representing Maryland, West Virginia, and DC. In December, 63 Maryland legislators called on Governor Hogan, Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot to reject the easement to build underneath the Rail Trail. Dozens of activists also rallied at the Western Maryland Rail/Trail in Hancock on May 30th after the Columbia Gas filed the complaint.
Surface and ground waters can suffer long-term harm during the construction of fracked-gas pipelines. A drilling blowout can release toxic drilling chemicals into the soil and adjacent waters and construction can alter routes and rates of water flow. Once in operation, gas pipelines continue to pose contamination dangers. Gas leaked from a pipeline includes toxic chemicals and a pipeline failure can release methane, an explosive safety hazard and a potent greenhouse gas.

QUOTES

Delegate Lorig Charkoudian, District 20
My colleagues and I are fully committed to protecting Marylanders and our environment. We are outraged at the attempt being made by a private corporation to seize a public park through the extraordinary power of eminent domain. The plan to put a pipeline under the Potomac River puts our public health and our environment at risk. In January, Maryland unequivocally denied Columbia Gas the right to use this land to build their pipeline. We continue to stand with Marylanders to tell Columbia Gas that we don’t want your unnecessary and harmful pipeline in our state.
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
“In 2017 I was the lead sponsor of the legislation that banned fracking in Maryland. This bill passed with bipartisan support and was welcomed and signed into law by Governor Hogan. The fracking ban was passed in order to protect our water supply and the health of Marylanders. Columbia Gas is attempting to circumvent the will of Maryland by pumping fracked gas from other states through our communities. A fracked gas pipeline serves absolutely no purpose for Maryland and in fact only places Marylanders in peril.”
Josh Tulkin, Director of the Maryland Sierra Club
“Marylanders have said time after time that we don’t want fracking, we don’t want fracked gas, and we don’t want Columbia Gas’ dirty pipeline. This letter signed by legislators from across Maryland shows how united we are against it, because our water, climate, and communities are too important to let polluting corporations run roughshod through our state. Columbia Gas may put their profits over our people, but we applaud the 62 Maryland legislators who are standing up for Marylanders.”
Brooke Harper, Maryland Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
“Marylanders have consistently opposed the threats that fracked-gas pipelines pose to our health, water, climate, and communities. We shouldn’t be deepening our dependence on dirty fuels such as fracked gas at a time when clean, renewable energy is abundant and affordable. That’s why we applaud the state for doing everything in its power to fight back against Columbia Gas’s attempted land grab, why we thank the legislators who stand with us and not Columbia Gas.”
Brent Walls, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper
“For over two years voices from the community rose up together to oppose the Potomac Pipeline. Voices from Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the DC area stood together as neighbors, as friends to defend  against an unnecessary pipeline that threatens the drinking water and the quality of life for 1000’s of their neighbors. Columbia gas does not care what the people want or that the State of Maryland has made a choice to say no to the pipeline. So the community that rose up to fight against columbia gas and their fracked gas pipeline, stands in solidarity with the state of Maryland.”
 
CONTACT:
Doug Jackson, Sierra Club, 202.495.3045, doug.jackson@sierraclub.org
Denise Robbins, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, 240.630.1889, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org
Delegate Lorig Charkoudian, 410-227-4941, Lorig.Charkoudian@house.state.md.us

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About the Sierra Club:
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
About Chesapeake Climate Action Network:
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 16 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  For more information, visit www.chesapeakeclimate.org
About the Potomac Riverkeeper Network:
Potomac Riverkeeper Network is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with three regional Waterkeeper branches: Potomac Riverkeeper, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper and Shenandoah Riverkeeper. Our mission is to protect the public’s right to clean water in our rivers and streams. We stop pollution to promote safe drinking water, protect healthy habitats, and enhance public use and enjoyment. For more information, visit http://www.potomacriverkeepernetwork.org.

Another Judge Sides with Marylanders against GenOn’s Attempts to Roll Back Clean Water Protections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, June 10, 2019
Contact: 

Emily Pomilio, emily.pomilio@sierraclub.org, (480) 286-0401
Ari Phillips, aphillips@environmentalintegrity.org, (202) 263-4456
Anne Havemann, anne@chesapeakeclimate.org, (240) 396-2146
Fritz Schneider, fritz@prknetwork.org, (301) 728.4811

Another Judge Sides with Marylanders against GenOn’s Attempts to Roll Back Clean Water Protections

A victory for local community members, environmentalists, and state regulators

Montgomery County, MD —  Two weeks after a Maryland Circuit Court ruled against a coal company’s efforts to block clean water safeguards at its Chalk Point power plant in Prince George’s County, another Circuit Court judge rejected the same company’s attempt to challenge a  Clean Water Act permit for its Dickerson plant in Montgomery County.

After a strong push from local residents and organizations supportive of clean water, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) finalized updated Clean Water Act permits for three of Maryland’s six coal-fired power plants.  The permits issued in 2018 incorporated new federal limits on several toxic pollutants including:

  • Arsenic, a known carcinogen and neurotoxin;

  • Mercury, another potent neurotoxin;

  • Selenium, which is toxic to aquatic life; and

  • Nitrogen, which causes algae blooms and dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay.

The limits are set to take effect next year. GenOn Energy, the owner of the three facilities, challenged  the permits for its Dickerson (Montgomery County), Morgantown (Charles County), and Chalk Point (Prince George’s County) coal-fired power plants. The permits are being defended in court by the MDE and by a coalition of clean water advocates represented by attorneys with the Environmental Integrity Project. Only the permit for the Morgantown plant has yet to be decided on by the court.

On June 7, 2019, the court entered an order affirming MDE’s permit for the Dickerson plant, denying all relief requested by GenOn, and finding that the clean water advocates were entitled to fully participate in the appeal as parties – a point that was challenged by GenOn.

Various organizations released their comments on the decision below:

“Maryland courts have now twice denied GenOn and should surely deny the company’s attempt to avoid accountability at its Morgantown facility,” said David Smedick, Campaign and Policy Director Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Coal plant owners have resisted these common sense, affordable pollution controls and have instead opted to pursue fruitless appeals with teams of lawyers. GenOn needs to hear the call: Marylanders are done with coal’s dirty pollution.”

“Another Maryland court has confirmed that the law does not support GenOn’s foot-dragging.” said Sylvia Lam, Attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project. “GenOn wanted more time to continue discharging toxic pollution into Maryland waterways – in this case, the Potomac River – and so far, the courts in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties have denied GenOn’s attempts to resist necessary technology upgrades.”

“This ruling is a win for the Potomac River and Marylanders who recreate and make their living from it,” said Phillip Musegaas, Vice President Programs and Litigation for Potomac Riverkeeper Network. “It’s high time Dickerson and other coal plants are held to the strictest standards to keep toxic pollution out of our rivers.”

“There’s no debate that toxic metals in our state’s waterways are incredibly harmful,” said Anne Havemann, General Counsel, Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “GenOn wanted to keep discharging pollutants that can cause risk of cancer, lower IQ among children, and create deformities and reproductive harm in fish and wildlife. We applaud the two Maryland Circuit Courts that have done the right thing by protecting our communities from the harms of coal and look forward to a similarly positive result from the Charles County court.”

“After MDE finalized its new permits, we had to continue our fight for clean water in the courtroom because GenOn was looking to continue dumping excessive levels of toxins into the Potomac River,” Brian Ditzler, a Montgomery County resident said. “It’s heartening to see that the Circuit Court agrees that  the cleanliness of the water we drink and the health of our residents takes precedence over the profits of the coal plant owner. We won’t stop pushing until we have truly coal-free water.”

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