Calls to County Council / Upcoming Caravan event

Our latest calls to ACTION are to call Prince George’s County Council representatives and to prepare for an announcement about a future caravan event. See more below:

Calls to Prince George’s County Council to tell them: NO TAX BREAKS TO POWER PLANTS. We’re especially interested in stopping Mattawoman Energy, but while we’re at it we can advocate that they not give tax breaks to any power plants. They should pay taxes. If you’re a tax payer, it’s your money. We need it for our health care system which has the burden of the many respiratory cases due to pollution caused by those power plants.

How to and some points you can include in your call:

  • To call County Council members, you need to start at this page, find the representative for your district (Brandywine is District 9) but ALSO remember to come back later and contact the 2 At-Large members who represent everyone in the county
    • Click on their District number in the left column to find their page with their phone number. Ask to talk to them directly, but if they’re not available, leave a complete message in case you don’t hear back from them, but say that you want a response as to if they will make the promise and vote on a bill when it comes up (or to sponsor it, if you call Councilman Harrison).
    • If you can’t reach your council person directly, call one of their staff members – find their numbers on their committee pages or elsewhere from the main county council page.
    • If you’re not a Prince George’s County resident, call one you know or from an area you have a connection with (work in, have relatives, etc.) and tell them how you’re connected and why you think they should not give tax breaks to power plants.
  • We’re asking Councilman Harrison to create a bill that will make it illegal to give a tax credit or tax break to power plants, so you can advocate for all of them to vote for it when they see it but in the mean time not to vow not to vote on giving tax breaks to power plants
    • the PILOT is the one they gave to Keys Energy power plant which is just one of 2 power plants in the center of Brandywine a 3rd power plant, just 1/2 mile from Brandywine Elementary School, getting ready to build
  • At-large members represent all in county – say you’re a constituent:
  • Keep your message short, clear, personal (share a short story if applicable), and concise. Below are some other things you can bring up.
  • Health Effects of Electric Utilities from the American Lung Association
    • Note that Transporting the Fuel will not be as much of an issue due to it being piped in, although pipelines do have leaks, however, during the 3 years of construction, we will have many MORE trucks and this area already has too many.
    • Article about local truck traffic
  • Environmental impacts of Natural Gas by Union of Concerned Scientists – also includes Greenhouse gases that create climate change
  • Brandywine, Maryland is a “Sacrifice zone” – article from University of Maryland Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health – tell county council members it has to stop!

Stay tuned for an educational caravan in Feb. – join our activists by emailing: cleanair@brandywinemd.com and/or subscribe to this blog here.

Letter-Writing Action 1 to End 2020

We need to reach out to our state legislators to ask them to support Maryland State Delegate Ivey’s bill (PG 410-21), which will be discussed on Wed., Dec. 30 and the deadline to submit a letter is 4 PM on Tues., Dec. 29, but until it is passed or withdrawn letters can continue to be sent (see below).  If you have not written to your legislator previously, it is pretty simple.

  • Only write to your own legislators.  If you want to find them, you can put your address in here Members – Find My Representatives (maryland.gov).  Scroll down to get your state legislators.  If you click on them, you will get their email address (or see list below).
  • Email both your Delegates (if you have 2) and your Senator.
  • Keep it short.
  • Start by saying that you support Delegate Ivey’s bill, PG 410-21 to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure (here’s the link to read it).
  • Then, put in a sentence or two about why you support the bill.  You can say anything you want.  If you have experienced harm from the existing power plants, that would be good to mention.
  • One of the things that legislators say all the time is that they remember when someone has a story.  It makes them connect to the issue.  If you have a story, that’s great, but keep it short.
  • End by saying that you would like the Delegate or Senator to COMMIT to supporting the bill.
  • Finally, put in your name and your full address, including zip code.

Here’s a list of Maryland state representatives (both Delegates and Senators):

Charles28DelegateDavis, Debradebra.davis@house.state.md.us
Charles28DelegatePatterson, Edith J.Edith.Patterson@house.state.md.us
Charles28DelegateWilson, C. T.ct.wilson@house.state.md.us
Charles28SenatorEllis, Arthurarthur.ellis@senate.state.md.us
Calvert27ADelegateProctor, Susiesusie.proctor@house.state.md.us
Calvert and Prince George’s27BDelegateJackson, Michael A. Michael.Jackson@house.state.md.us
Charles and Prince George’s27CDelegateFisher, Mark N.mark.fisher@house.state.md.us
Prince George’s25DelegateBarnes, Darryl Darryl.Barnes@house.state.md.us
Prince George’s25DelegateCharles, Nicknick.charles@house.state.md.us
Prince George’s25DelegateDavis, Dereck E.dereck.davis@house.state.md.us
Prince George’s25SenatorGriffith, Melonymelony.griffith@senate.state.md.us
Prince George’s26DelegateTurner, Veronicaveronica.turner@house.state.md.us
Prince George’s26DelegateValderrama, Kriselda kris.valderrama@house.state.md.us
Prince George’s26DelegateWalker, Jay jay.walker@house.state.md.us
Prince George’s26SenatorPatterson, Obieobie.patterson@senate.state.md.us
Prince George’s23ADelegate Valentino-Smith, Geraldine   geraldine.valentino@house.state.md.us
Prince George’s23BDelegate Holmes, Marvin E., Jr.   marvin.holmes@house.state.md.us
Prince George’s23BDelegate Watson, Ron courtney.watson@house.state.md.us
Prince George’s23Senator  Peters, Douglas J.   douglas.peters@senate.state.md.us

NOTE: Senator Mike Miller, District 27 recently resigned due to poor health. Write to Delegate Susie Proctor if you’re in district 27 A where the Mattawoman Energy power plant is planned to be built.

Testify to Public Service Commission

How to testify to the Maryland Public Service Commission for the Dec. 9 hearing about the PPRP’s response to the Downstream Report about the Mattawoman Energy’s 161-page amendment to their permit to build the 5th power plant within 13 miles (see details about this issue throughout this website and Talking Points here):

To speak at the Virtual Administrative Meeting of Dec. 9, 10 AM

 Contact Susan Thomas at susan.thomas@maryland.gov;

 Do so by 12:00 noon on the Tuesday (Dec 8) before the Administrative Meeting, which is held each Wednesday at 10:00 AM. Indicate on your email that you will address the Mattawoman Energy Center LLC Amendment. 

Written comments for the Dec. 9 Meeting must be posted by 12:00 Noon on Monday Dec. 7. 

Here is how: Go to the PSC website to the Public Comments page at: https://www.psc.state.md.us/make-a-public-comment/

You must register to use the Electronic Dropbox system if you have not yet done so.
Use the password that goes with your email address, or use forget
password to get one.
If you are using Internet Explorer please click here

Once logged in, just upload your document from your file. If you have any problems contact:

Toya R. Lee
Maryland Public Service Commission
toya.lee@maryland.gov
(410) 767-8098

Sign Petition & Pass It On

Please sign this petition and share it widely. We would like our legislators to know that a lot of people are concerned about the environment. GO TO THIS LINK FOR PETITION.

We do not want a 5th power plant in our community! It will also affect climate change.

SEE MORE ABOUT OUR FIGHT TO STOP THIS PLANT: Past blog posts/updates, the 5 power plants within 13 miles, the issuesGlobal WarmingEnvironmental InjusticeProperty ValuesFrackingCheap Gas, TaxesWorst Energy Job CreatorLack of Public Involvement, and Alternatives )

PSC Hearing Update

  • Dec. 4, Fri, we should receive a response from PPRP about the Downstream Strategies report which was the reason for the postponement of the decision from the Nov. 4 hearing. The response should be available here. However it is possible it will be posted where it won’t show up in this search of case number 9330, sorted by date. Dr. Henry Cole will be searching for it several times per day and will notify us when he finds it. You will be notified if you’re on our GoogleGroup. The final agenda for the Dec. 9 hearing and links to related docs are here.
  • Dec. 6, Sun., we will be having a meeting to see what we should do if we don’t get a postponement. We will continue to ask as we haven’t had a chance to review the response before the hearing (information below). If you’d like to join us Sun. night on Zoom, the information will be sent to our GoogleGroup.
  • Dec. 7, Mon. noon is the deadline for sending a letter to PSC as testimony for the hearing (whether you can attend or not). Responses from last month’s hearing is here (select case number 9330 and dates Oct. 1 to today’s date should give you all the public comments which can be used as examples but the content of them now should be about the response to the report linked to above – we can’t advise you as to how to comment since we don’t have the response and no idea how it will turn out).
  • Dec. 8, Tues. noon is the deadline to sign up to speak at the Dec. 9 hearing. Information on how to make a public comment is here. The order of the agenda could change, but you can find Mattawoman Energy on the agenda here.
  • Dec. 9 10:00 AM hearing. If you’re not signed up to speak, you can watch it live or in recording here. If you are signed up to speak, you should get a link to the video chat in your email.

THE HEARING IS ABOUT THE PIPELINE

Below are the photos again as a reminder of what the pipeline can do to our land and where it will be.

Note this story of a drilling accident in New Jersey. And this story about pipeline problems in Pennsylvania.

Cedarville Community Event

We had the largest group thus far for community education. We are concerned for the fish hatchery at Cedarville State Forest which is also a park where people camp, hike, and more. We hiked to the power lines where the pipeline will run underneath. We were right on the border of Prince George’s County and Charles County. The pipeline runs through both counties.

We wanted to go to the Cedarville trailer park because the pipeline dewatering could affect their artesian wells and because we know they have not been notified about this plan for the pipeline to the Mattawoman Energy plant that has not yet been built.

Please share the following photos via social media to let people know what is going on in your area (town, county, state, country and, as it is a climate change issue, world). Maryland can be a leader in climate change solutions if this additional fracked-gas power plant is NOT built. ALSO give them a link to our ACTION page which has a list of many ways they/you can help.

4 environmental advocates carry signs at Cedarville State Forest: “CleanAirPrinceGeorges.org Petition” (which you can find here); a photo of power plant emitting methane gas see it here; “No Tax Breaks for Polluters” (as Prince George’s County gave tax breaks to existing Keys Energy plant that’s only a little more than a mile away); and “No Corruption”
4 environmental advocates carry signs: “I Can’t Breathe… No Mattawoman” (meaning no Mattawoman power plant… not the river – the power plant took the river’s name); “No More Power Plants”; “No Power Plant Zone” with pictures of great things we could do instead; and “Clean Air is In Our Hands”
7 environmental advocates along Cedarville Rd. One sign reads: “No Pipeline Thru Cedarville Pk”
Photographer aiming at environmental advocate with sign: “CleanAirPrinceGeorges.org Petition” (which you can find here)
2 environmental advocates in the foreground and two in the background at Cedarville State Forest. Signs being held say “No Pipeline Thru Cedarville Pk” and “No Tax Breaks for Polluters” (as Prince George’s County gave tax breaks to existing Keys Energy plant that’s only a little more than a mile away) and “No Corruption” with sign on the ground saying “Maryland – on the wrong side of climate history! DO NOT BUILD Another Dirty – Leaky – Fracked Gas Power Plant IN BRANDYWINE or MARYLAND” with photo of power plant emitting methane gas see it here and “NOSACRIFICEZONE.COM” underneath.
Environmental advocates at Cedarville State Forest. Sign being held reads: “WE ALL NEED CLEAN AIR”
Ten environmental advocates on Cedarville Rd. at entrance to Cedarville State Forest park with signs in foreground reading: “Enough is Enough/Environmental Justice is Racial Justice” with artist rendition of power plant and “No Jobs on a Dead Planet” (for those who think jobs are more important than saving the environment which is one of the few arguments for the power plant)
Twelve environmental advocates standing with signs along Cedarville Rd. at the entrance to Cedarville State Forest
Two environmental advocates with signs reading: “”No Jobs on a Dead Planet” (for those who think jobs are more important than saving the environment which is one of the few arguments for the power plant) and “No Sacrifice Zone – protect our Children’s HEALTH – NO MATTAWOMAN” (meaning no Mattawoman power plant… not the river – the power plant took the river’s name)
Two environmental advocates in front of Cedarville State Forest – Maryland Department of Natural Resources sign holding signs that read: “CleanAirPrinceGeorges.org Petition” (which you can find here) and “CLEAN AIR We are all in this Together”
Three environmental advocates holding signs: “CLEAN AIR We are all in this Together”, “No Pipeline Thru Cedarville Pk”, and “No Tax Breaks for Polluters” (as Prince George’s County gave tax breaks to existing Keys Energy plant that’s only a little more than a mile away) and sign underneath reads: “Maryland – on the wrong side of climate history! DO NOT BUILD Another Dirty – Leaky – Fracked Gas Power Plant IN BRANDYWINE or MARYLAND” with photo of power plant emitting methane gas see it here and “NYT Infrared photo of fracked gas power plant with Methane leaking out. Methane has an 80% higher greenhouse gas impact over co2.NOSACRIFICEZONE.COM” underneath.
Three environmental advocates at Cedarville Rd. holding signs: “No Pipeline Thru Cedarville Pk”, “No Tax Breaks for Polluters” (as Prince George’s County gave tax breaks to existing Keys Energy plant that’s only a little more than a mile away), “No Corruption”, and “SOLAR NOT GAS”
Two environmental advocates holding signs: “No Power Plant Zone” and “No Power Plant – No Pipeline – Clean Air is in Our Hands – CleanAirPrinceGeorges.org
Two environmental advocates on road. One sign reads: “We Can’t Breathe – No Mattawoman” with artist rendition of person coughing and inhaler (note that “Mattawoman” refers to the proposed power plant… not the river – the power plant took the river’s name)
Three environmental advocates holding signs of which two are readable: “SOLAR NOT GAS” and “No Sacrifice Zone – protect our Children’s HEALTH – NO MATTAWOMAN” with picture of child using an inhaler (note that “Mattawoman” refers to the power plant… not the river – the power plant took the river’s name)
Environmental advocates carry signs to educate the public about coming pipeline to a power plant that is planned to be built just up the street from them that is also an issue for climate change. Image descriptions explain.
“JOIN US CLEANAIRPRINCEGEORGES.ORG

3rd Community Education Action & Information

We met on Nov. 14 to wave signs, pass out fliers, and get petition signatures in front of Brandywine Elementary School. See photos below.

Our next Community Education Action will be at Cedarville Park at 10 AM on Sat., Nov. 21. Contact cleanair@brandywinemd.com for more information.

The county delegation to the state General Assembly has a bill, sponsored by Delegate Ivey of Cheverly, to end new coal power plants. They’ve added on gas-powered plants as well. There’s a public hearing on Fri., Nov. 19 at 7:00 PM.

We’ve been told Chalk Point has stopped burning coal, but they may be switching to oil and they also have a gas-powered plant there, so Chalk Point is still a problem.

Also coal continues to be a problem, because Brandywine houses a coal ash dump that’s being used by other coal-powered plants.

According to data from the EPA, “[Brandywine,] Maryland is #7 in “worst groundwater contamination from coal ash”: “19 miles southeast of Washington, DC, at the Brandywine landfill in Prince George’s County, ash from three NRG coal plants has contaminated groundwater with unsafe levels of at least eight pollutants, including lithium at more than 200 times above safe levels, and molybdenum (which can damage the kidney and liver) at more than 100 times higher than safe levels. The contaminated groundwater at this site is now feeding into and polluting local streams.”(1) Apparently GenOn, the owner, has had multiple lawsuits “for its polluting of groundwater and local streams.”(4) Problems with groundwater and local streams are what we fear from the dewatering for the pipeline, too.

The coal ash has seen to be dumped loose into the coal ash dump that overlooks the playground at North Keys park. People have reported seeing dust clouds over the park, probably due to the ash being blown into the air. It appears that they do not dump the ash in a safe way. It should be contained at the source of where it is produced, Chalk Point, Morgantown*(2)(3), and elsewhere. People off North Keys Road have well water, which, as far as we know, was not able to be tested in Prince George’s County.

Good news is we’re getting support from many organizations from all over the state and we’ve learned of new ones right here in Brandywine. More people are becoming more aware of how important local communities are in the fight against pollution and climate change.

(1) https://www.ecowatch.com/groundwater-contamination-coal-ash-2630617715.html
(2) https://ashtracker.org/facility/64/brandywine-coal-ash-landfill
(3) https://web.archive.org/web/20120321083804/https://www.environmentalintegrity.org/news_reports/documents/OutofControl-MountingDamagesFromCoalAshWasteSites.pdf
(4) https://wamu.org/story/19/03/04/one-of-the-most-polluting-coal-ash-dumps-in-the-u-s-is-in-maryland/

Upcoming Community Education Actions

On Nov. 9, we discussed future community action events. Another Brandywine Rd. event similar to the one we previously did on Oct. 31 as posted on our blog Nov. 2 (entitled “Update – Prepare for Hearing”).

We’re meeting Saturday, Nov. 14 at 10:00 AM at Brandywine Elementary School on Brandywine Rd. Bring signs that have a very large, easily recognizable image or very large words that can be seen from cars driving by at 30-40 mph. The message should be about the website and/or the power plant. We may have signs you can use.

THIS WILL BE A SOCIAL-DISTANCING EVENT AND ALL PARTICIPANTS SHOULD WEAR MASKS.

We want to inform people about the pipeline and where it’s going. Would they like to sign a petition? Sign onto a letter to the Public Service Commission (PSC)? Speak at the next PSC meeting (currently scheduled for Dec. 9)? Join our email list? Help us spread the word to neighbors?

Please educate yourself as much as possible by reading as much of this website as possible. Questions can be asked of other members at the Community Education event.

Examples of signs are in the photo on this blog post and below.

Other similar actions along the pipeline route will be set up soon, also.

PSC Hearing Results & Next Steps

PSC (Public Service Commission) Hearing Brief Notes 2020-11-4

17 people attended who spoke against the amendment (see the YouTube video here & written comments are here – scroll down to between 2020-09 to 2020-11-4)

Mattawoman Energy – Ian Shavetz, attorney, points brought up in his testimony:

  • narrow amendment – state agencies concur; 
  • this is same pipeline approved in permit; 
  • US Army of Engineers approved it; 
  • area of park no dewatering; 
  • owners of property notified; 
  • impacts of dewatering narrow & small; 
  • reduced dewatering from original permit; 
  • 7.3 miles required – only 63% dewatering especially in sensitive environmental areas; 
  • water table will come back same day; 
  • water returned to environment; 
  • erosion issues will be filtered; 
  • equivalent to seasonal fluctuations; 
  • JBA did not object based on superfund site (1/3 mi. away)

Commissioners’ comments (read by Chairman Jason Stanek) included these points: 

  • narrow amendment;
  • not to review other issues that may be related to the site but not to the limited amendment; 
  • Downstream Strategies report – dated today, signed by Dr. Cole – Commissioners hadn’t read it – ME received it yesterday & were willing to review it & go over points; 
  • Commission cannot rule today due to the late filing of report

Commissioner comments, questions, discussion:

  • Commissioner Michael Richard reviewed & thinks it’s significant & wants to delay 90 days – Shavitz responded that report is only 12 pages – agreeable but asked for expeditious return; Richard argued about 90 days & spoke to local concerns
  • Commissioner Anthony O’Donnell – desire to be transparent & appreciates citizens, but legally, requests were not matters they can rule on; wants to review report but in shorter period of time
  • Commissioner Mindy Herman doesn’t understand why citizens were not notified; Steve Talson, Maryland Department of Energy (MDE) council, asked John Grace, Chief of the Source Protection and Appropriations Division of the Water Supply Program/Water Management Administration (WMA), to reply – another law about CPCN proceedings, no MDE requirement to give notice – Talson thought they deferred to MDE, letters sent, 5502E(?) citation, landowner & not interested persons notification[1]; Herman agreed with time needed for review of report only 30 days; Grace agreed 30 days review, Dr. Cole said 6-page report requires review of much larger report about deficiencies & time correction needs 90 days to review;
  • Commissioner Odogwu Obi Linton agreed with need to review report & wanted to make sure PPRP & DNR satisfied requirements; Fred Kelley said they had long review & that pipeline route was part of initial permit, impacts limited & temporary; wetlands provisions reviewed & was covered although just reviewed report & deferred to Commission on how long they take to review it.

Commissioner Chair Stanek delayed decision until they review the report; will be on Dec. 9 agenda.

[1]NOTE: We need to change the law to require notification for amendments and not just property owners, but also people residing on the property and interested persons.

Update – Prepare for Hearing

Prepare for the Nov. 4 hearing TODAY – deadline to submit public documents is NOON TODAY.

You can still sign up to speak with an email to susan.thomas@maryland.gov by NOON TOMORROW. The meeting is online and it is our understanding that the Public Service Commission will send you a link to join – please include your email address and phone number along with you name and address in your message. See more about participating in our previous blog post here.

On Saturday we participated in a community education event. See photo below:

Oct. 31, 2020 in front of Brandywine Elementary School