It’s Not Over… How You and the County Can Help

On Wed., Aug. 28 the Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to approve the amendment to Mattawoman Energy Center’s (MEC)  2015 Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) permit – to make a change from water cooling to air cooling of the now 1,038 MW operating 24/7 fracked-gas power plant. This will allow MEC to move forward with their plan to build after a 4 year dormancy.  Seven concerned citizens from Brandywine and Prince George’s County were able to attended the PSC’s administrative meeting in Baltimore to represent, witness and reiterate objections and concerns. (For more information on citizen’s testimonies to the PSC click here and put in Select Case: 9330 and click Search)

That evening, we met with County Executive Angela Alsobrook’s Chief of Staff and Community Relations office. They said they heard that people in Brandywine didn’t care about the power plants. WE NEED TO SHOW THE COUNTY WE CARE! It was very nice to talk to county administrators who seemed to care, but what will be done?

The next day we spoke out at County Councilman Sydney Harrison’s Coffee and Conversation in Clinton for District 9. The flyer didn’t say it was for Education only, but they made that statement during the event, apparently to keep us from bringing up power plants even though we spoke about the health of our students by preventing more asthma and respiratory problems due to air pollution and about raising taxes to improve our schools. The power plants do impact our children. Additional information:

  • Councilman Harrison said he was going to the Dept. of Health to find out what could be done about the air quality problem – he said they know about the power plants and are taking the future air quality into consideration also (let’s share with each other about the findings of those meetings).
  • Harrison’s chief of staff, Eric Bowman said council lawyers advise them that some issues and meetings, like power plants, have legal concerns that keep them from discussing them or attending meetings about them. We would like transparency about what these legal concerns are.

WHAT WE CAN DO NOW
Don’t Let the County Tell Us: “We inherited this problem” or “It was the state…” as this sounds like it has nothing to do with our county officials and that they can’t do anything. We can contact the county to tell them what they can do (see below). Contact Coucilman Sydney Harrison here – Contact County Executive Angela Alsobrooks here.

WHAT THE COUNTY CAN DO

  • Not give the power plants tax breaks, credits, incentives, etc. They should pay full taxes and the area should see those funds to remediate the damage their plants cause and to improve our local schools.
  • Monitor noise from the power plant and take action if they are above the limit of 65 db during the day and 55 db at night. It is the county’s perview to enforce noise standards. We think that should be at the sidewalk level since we want this to be a walkable bikable community and the county is helping to make the effort to do that (see Brandywine Revitalization & Preservation Study by Parks & Planning here).
  • Monitor air quality and report to the state if the power plants are not keeping to the legal qualities set by state and federal agencies. They may say that’s the state’s perview, but if they are true to their desire to educate our children, they need to also protect their health and the county can report to the state and federal governments or it can be done through a county-citizen partnership. (Wellness is supposedly a goal of the public schools.)
  • County can be leaders in modeling with programs that support its citizens, such as a policy to have no more power plants and meet state goals for the climate crisis before their goals of 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2040; also supporting agritourism as a viable entity for green areas and food security which requires farmland.

Any other suggestions? Contact us at contact@cleanairprincegeorges.org or 301-502-3261. Also see the Action page which was updated.

 

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Write Letters, Sign Petition, Join Us Aug. 28

The deadline for letters to the Public Service Commission has passed, but there is more to be done:

Letters to the Editor would be helpful: The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Prince George’s Post (email to pgpost@gmail.com), Prince George’s Sentinel (email pg@thesentinel.com), Maryland Independent, or any other local papers for the state of Maryland, DC area, Prince George’s County, or southern Maryland. See a letter to the Washington Post here.

Fossil Fuel is so Yesterday! Cleanairprincegeorges.org We Must Say No to New hyper polluting fossil fuel plant in the middle of our community

Image thanks to Caryl Henry Alexander

Signing this petition can help, too. Every time someone signs it it’s sent to public officials. We hope they pay attention after they get a lot. We don’t know how much it will take.

You can also write to your state and county legistators. See this site where you have to put in your address and zip code to see them all.

Attend the Public Service Commission meeting on August 28, 10 AM (arrive ~8:30 to sign up to speak) at:

Frank O. Heintz Hearing Room
William Donald Schaefer Tower
6 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202-6806

On August 28, the Public Service Commission is supposed to decide at their meeting if they accept the amendment to the CPCN, which is the main permit that Mattawoman Energy needs to build the power plant. See agenda here. People can register to speak at the meeting or you can just attend to support the dissenters (the people who don’t agree with the permit and don’t want the power plant). PLEASE WEAR the same color and/or design T-shirt so the Commission knows who we are and on what side, so subscribe to this blog and follow the Facebook page.

About administrative meetings from the PSC website:

If you wish to speak at a public administrative meeting, you may attend and come forward to indicate your desire to speak when your item of interest is called by the Chairman or presiding Commissioner. Depending upon the number of individuals who wish to address the Commission, it may be necessary to limit the amount of time for each person’s presentation, or to otherwise entertain comments in an orderly fashion.

If you are unable to attend a public hearing or meeting, but wish to express your opinion on a particular matter, you may send your written comments to:

TerryJ.Romine,Executive Secretary, Maryland Public Service Commission, 6 Saint Paul StreetBaltimore, MD 21202-6806 Or you can send your comments or questions using our online comment form here.

Reasonable accommodations will be made at Public Service Commission proceedings for qualified persons with disabilities, if requested 5 days in advance of the proceeding.
(Dial 410-767-8000 or access the prior numbers through the Maryland Relay Service at 7-1-1) or
**For weather-related cancellations or postponements, dial 410-767-8000 or 1-800-492-0474. ** 

If you can’t attend, watch it here.

Read more all over this site for the issues. The latest blog posts give information about the amendment. But if you don’t have time, it’s fine – you can still participate. And if you don’t have time to participate, please support our work.

Please spread the word!

After Aug. 28, the Case 9330 decision should be found here.

Letters Needed by Aug. 14 – Pass it On!

The Public Service Commission (PSC) posted a notice that the deadline to respond to Mattawoman Energy’s proposal to amend their CPCN permit is Aug. 14 and letters from as many people as possible would be helpful. Go to this web page to submit your response. You will need this information: Case No. 9330

Here are some examples of letters already sent to PSC posted on their site. Specific examples here:

Information you can include in your letter:

  • This is not a minor change as stated in the application to amend the CPCN permit; it is a major change as the permit was made in 2015 and since then climate change got worse such as we’ve had record-breaking weather events in the state, the state banned fracking (and gas is likely to come from fracking – from other states), & the state approved a plan to go to 50% renewable electricity by 2030; and the plant’s changes include building a larger building to house an air-cooler (fan) that will emit noise and be closer to Brandywine Road.
  • They did not meet deadlines in the existing CPCN permit, so it should be expired. (Specific conditions are mentioned in Mike Fluharty’s comments available on the PSC Docket)
  • Dewatering will still need to be done on their property, so deadlines should stand.
  • Questions can be asked, though answers will come as part of the response to our letters instead of before, though there’s a process to further respond if we sign on as a person of record.
  • What kind of turbine? Steam? Where the they getting water? Will they be processing waste water and trucking out solid wastes (even though less than previously proposed – we were not informed they’re going to be a waste treatment plant)?
  • Will the vibrations from air coolers create radio frequencies that interfere with AAFB facility which is adjacent to plant?
  • Lack of mentioning Climate Change and building fossil fuel plants seems to make PSC, a state agency that represents the state, climate deniers. (PSC will probably not be intimidated by this in our replies, but could be a good point to the press. Commissioners do what the laws tell them, so we need to make a law for PSC to consider climate change in their decisions – Sierra Club is working on that with others in the state.)
  • We’re trying to reduce fossil fuel plants & gas pollutes and produces carbon as coal plants do – it’s too late now – it would have been better 20 yrs. ago.
  • It will use fracked gas, which is banned here.
  • They said it was “base load”, not “peak demand” like the North Keys and Panda plants, which means it’ll operate 24X7 instead of as needed, so more noise emissions, etc.
  • Gas leaks require compressor stations which release pressure and have emissions – Where will theirs be? Will enough emissions be release to prevent leaks? How much emissions will there be to our already highly polluted air?
  • EPA environmental justice civil rights agreement was signed by Jason M. Stanek, the person we’re writing our letters to at PSC, which was to include the local people in the process, though notices were not sent to the local residents and the posted sign could not be seen by passers by on the street (though technically they were not required by law to do it).
  • No one attended the public meeting to speak in favor of the plant (18 spoke against it)
  • A power plant next to Brandywine Road is not in keeping with the Brandywine Revitalization Plan which tax dollars have helped put together and is in process.

Letters to the Editor would also be helpful: The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Prince George’s Post (email to pgpost@gmail.com), Prince George’s Sentinel (email pg@thesentinel.com), Maryland Independent, or any other local papers for the state of Maryland, DC area, Prince George’s County, or southern Maryland.

AND signing this petition might help, too.

Please spread the word!

Keep In Touch! – Public Meeting Soon – This affects you!

Community members are concerned about new activity with Mattawoman Power Plant. Dominion stated they will not be providing their gas (see article here and read quote on our link at Facebook). They have applied to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to amend their Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) which is the major permit needed to start construction and, to our knowledge, no locally concerned citizens were notified.

Here are some concerns that may affect you:

  • Noise pollution: If they are permitted to air-cool instead of water-cool which was their previous plan. Location (zoom out as needed – 1/2 mi. from elementary school).
  • Gas pipeline leak/potential explosion (part of pipeline is existing, not new – does it meet today’s codes?)
  • Truck traffic during construction – Air pollution, more noise, safety
  • Traffic congestion on Brandywine Rd. and other adjoining roads, including Rt. 5 & 301
  • Impact on renewable energy sources, carbon emissions and climate change (State says we’re supposed to go to green energy by 2030 – see article – if you can’t see the article, search on “Maryland bill mandating 50% renewable energy by 2030 to become law, but without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature”) – our future
  • Air and Water pollution – see information throughout this site

Stay connected from this website or our Facebook page for a public meeting later in June 2019.

Other recent web pages to visit:

Public Service Commission list of 9330 cases

Mattawomen Energy Center (contains links to CPCN)

Maryland Public Service Commission’s Search for Case 9330 (sort by date with 2019 at top)

EPA Resolution for civil rights complaint

Study Proves Gas Plumes Exist from Compressor Stations on Pipelines

The following study was found to show emissions from natural gas pipelines according to this article: Compressors on natural gas pipelines measured releasing high concentration plumes of gas

“The study was conducted by Bryce Payne and Bob Ackley, of Gas Safety,Inc., with A. Paige Wicker, Zacariah L. Hildenbrand, Doug D. Carlton Jr. and Kevin A. Schug, of the University of Texas at Arlington1. Measurements were made on public roads in the area of 9 compressors in Pennsylvania and New York. Compressors are needed about every 50 miles to push the gas along the pipelines, using turbines and usually pipeline gas driven motors; all those studied were gas driven.

The study reveals rogue methane a full mile from the compressor stations tested. Only methane was measured, but is a proxy for the mixture that is natural gas. While these plumes are composed predominantly of the greenhouse gas methane, which accounts for 80 to over 90% of natural gas, they also can contain nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, radon and volatile organic compounds, among other materials.”

Natural Gas Infrastructure (NGI) Action Planning Summit

Join neighbors to strategize and workshop shared pathways of actions to address existing and emerging Natural Gas Infrastructure (NGI) in Maryland. From pipelines to compressor stations, our communities are paying for dirty energy with their health and the ever-growing threat of the climate crisis

Action Planning Summit
June 10, 2017
1 pm – 4 pm

Beloved Community Church
17500 Indian Head Hwy
Accokeek, MD 20607

Together we will learn, listen, and seek solutions to stop the onslaught of NGI on our communities. Share the event page with neighbors and then register to attend!

Save

Upcoming Gathering for Information & Action About Brandywine Rd.

We have many concerns about the Brandywine Road area. Besides the Keys Power plant now using the road with its trucks, in addition to gravel miners and other industry, and the Mattawoman plant having plans to put a pipeline on Brandywine Rd. at some unknown time, there are other projects planned on the road between Rt. 5 and just east of the railroad tracks. These activities include:

These activities could interfere with our ability to get around in the center of Brandywine – to access the bank, the post office, the elementary school, other businesses, and possibly even our homes. Traffic is also related to clean air due to exhaust fumes, which can especially be a problem with large trucks.

We would also like to keep in mind the plans of the county for Brandywine Revitalization to become a walkable/bike-able community.

If you would like to discuss these concerns with fellow residents of Brandywine, please join our new GoogleGroup so that we can send you announcements and you can give us feedback. The link is on the side of every page under Subscribe and the social media images. There’s also a link on the Donation page. We’d like to invite you to our next gathering, which we hope will be soon.

We’re fighting the good fight – please help us!

Have you been down Brandywine Road lately? The work has stopped. That doesn’t mean they’re going away as they have permits and plans and have spent millions. We’re still working on stopping the 3rd natural gas plant in Brandywine and we have a coal plant as well – this plant is not needed here. Natural gas is dirty fossil fuel that will pollute and we’re fighting big corporate interests. We’re a small community.

Please support our legal battle with a donation (online here) – every little bit counts or contribute as much as you can afford. SPECIAL OFFER: People donating $50 or more during April 2017 will be invited to a cocktail party at national historic William W. Early house.

Your support can make a big difference. For more information, contact Joanne at 301-502-3261 email jflynn1111@me.com.