Updated: Mar 29, 2020
After Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp all rejected a proposal to construct a pipeline through sensitive lands in their state, environmental groups and state lawmakers applauded the move and thought the battle was over. However, Columbia Gas Transmission who owns the TransCanadian Pipeline is seeking a preliminary injunction to give the company immediate access to property that Maryland’s Board of Public Works denied in January. It also seeks the “award of just compensation and damages,” according to the Baltimore Sun. The cost of not doing business with the gas industry is unknown at this time. The 2015 Maryland General Assembly took a firm stance against gas production by passing a fracking ban willingly supported and signed into law by Hogan. Years of debate over the safety of the practice, weighing short-term financial gains against long-term environmental mitigation steered the state's decision. The move also made Maryland the first state to legislatively ban the practice where gas reserves are available. In striking contrast to the fracking ban was the construction of a natural gas export facility that was under construction while protests against the oil and gas industry were full steam ahead in Annapolis. The Cove Point facility was built to liquefy natural gas for export overseas, a business model that contradicts the gas industry's patriotic mantra of producing domestically to achieve U.S. energy independence. Foreign markets are fueling the gas industry's expansion and profits while domestic prices are down. With a surplus of gas on hand, many Appalachian Basin supply chain workers felt the sting throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio while gas executives called for capping wells to await higher earnings. Layoffs were abundant with roughly 1500 job cuts in 2015 and royalty checks for those landowners withered. Hogan will now face an act of aggression from savvy gas and oil legal teams. The negativity that accompanies eminent domain land grabs is risky for an industry already under scrutiny for gas line explosions and environmental and safety violations. A much-debated rejection letter from Maryland officials could become a public faceoff exposing damaging fossil fuel impacts and aggressive industry practices. The nation is fed up with the misuse of power highlighted by the "Me too" movement, and the understanding that individuals and states have the inalienable right to say "no." All those involved in pushing back the first time are not going to take kindly to spurn unwanted advances a second time.