The air quality permit to operate the Texas Eastern Transmission facilities at Accident will be the subject of a public hearing on Wednesday, April 26, 6:00PM at the Garrett College Career Technology Training Center, 116 Industrial Park Drive in Accident. Every five years the facility's air quality permit goes through the renewal process, and the public may make comments related to air quality concerns. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) will accept oral or written comments at the hearing, or within five days after the hearing, until May 1, 2017. The Accident facilities were the focus of two community meetings held in Fall 2015, sponsored by Engage Mountain Maryland. At the first meeting, citizens were given the opportunity to ask questions about operations at the facility, including air quality monitoring, and to hear about MDE and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulations pertaining to the "Accident Dome." The next meeting featured public health presentations about compressor stations, air emissions and noise. Based on uncertainty about the duration and extent of emissions at the facility, Citizen Shale submitted an application to the national non-profit organization, Earthworks, for GasFinder FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) imagery of gas emissions from the Texas Eastern Transmission facilities at Accident.
FLIR images documented that air emissions of concern were observed when the compressors were operating. These results were shared with the Garrett County Commissioners, acting in their capacity as the Board of Health, October 2016. Additionally, the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will provide an overview of federal safety regulations of transmission pipelines as well as an update of investigations of the Aliso Canyon, California underground gas storage facility leak and the Delmont, PA pipeline explosion. The Delmont pipeline has the same operator as the Texas Eastern transmission pipeline at Accident -- formerly, Spectra Energy. In February of this year, Canada's Enbridge purchased Houston-based Spectra Energy. MDE's public hearing is not an informational meeting. Questions raised as part of formal testimony will be addressed in a written Response to Comments document after the close of the comment period, according to MDE's notice.