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 Ivy 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

Videos to Share – Help Reduce Air Pollution & Climate Gases

Please share the following video or a link to this web page via email or on social media to your friends or fellow environmental and/or Brandywine advocates and then tell them to visit our Action page.

This video (only 6 mins.) tells about current situation in Oct./Nov. 2020:

This is a 2016 video of the Panda Brandywine fracked-gas power plant that is already in existence (the oldest of the Brandywine gas power plants) behind the Brandywine Crossing shopping center:

New Pipeline Proposed

If you haven’t yet, please start by reading the July 2020 update which will give you a good overview of the situation up until this new proposal. Remember to come back here to read about this new proposal.

The Mattawoman Energy power plant has applied with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) for an amendment to their CPCN (Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity) which is essentially a permit to start work. This 161-page amendment has a huge change and is currently scheduled to be brought before PSC on Oct. 21, 2020 (we’re trying to get an extension).

It starts in Charles County, going through the Bellewood community in Bryantown, under Poplar Road and behind/through properties on St. Peters Church Rd., through Cedarville State Park, under streams and Holly Springs Drive and Havensbrook Drive, under Cedarville Rd., to the railroad track extending by the U.S. Military Reservation to just south of Brandywine Rd. where it enters the Mattawoman Energy property. See vicinity map below and photos of the process of laying pipe. What a mess it will make! And, as far as we know, it will take water from the table that is used by area wells. It’ll also take 3 yrs. to build the facility and there will be many more trucks on our streets. Please help us fight this – see the Action tab.


Tour of Rural Southeast Prince George’s County

Thank you to Councilman Hawkins and his staff for hosting this tour of Brandywine to Eagle Harbor:
(Photos here of the participants.)

Stops on the Tour

SAARC (our new aquatic center) – where we started to see development we really like! Thank you, Prince George’s County!

Historic Chapel of the Incarnation – which houses CSS and has a senior center next door and where we could see the area of the Brandywine Revitalization Study for a walkable bikeable community.

Superfund site – contamination clean-up just north of the Early Family Historic District

Mattawoman Power Plant – not yet built as of Oct. 2019 (Their website says it will retire the coal power plant but we have 3 other fracked-gas power plants within a 13-mile area which all said they would close Chalk Point, though it is still open. The state says we’re supposed to have 50% renewable energy by 2030 which can’t happen with these fracked-gas / fossil fuel power plants)

PSEG Keys Energy – 2nd fracked-gas / fossil fuel powered plant in Prince George’s County.

North Keys Park (latest photos from Google) – near the coal fly ash from Chalk Point (ash tracker link shows latest tests)

Lake Chaney – a mining project gone wrong since our water table is so high – now used for water skiing

Jenkins/Gobbler Property – mining site not far from Schmidt Environmental Center and historic St. Thomas Methodist Church (listed on Wikipedia here) – could be a good site for a solar farm

Chalk Point – coal power plant (that we’ve been told is transitioning to gas, which will make it the 5th fracked-gas-powered energy plant in the area) – the first power plant in southeast Prince George’s County which is in Eagle Harbor, a historic African American waterfront resort created during the Jim Crow era – it is polluting the Patuxent River which our Patuxent Riverkeeper is trying to clean up.

PA Bowen Farm – where we bought organic cheese made from raw milk, learning about how raw milk can be healthy if regulated, and organic chicken and other products from their farm which requires clean air and water (no more dirty fossil fuel power plants!).

Romano Winery – where we learned about the process of creating a variety of wines & we bought some great wine

Brandywine Power Facility, KMC Thermal (Google photos) – This is the first gas-powered energy plant in Brandywine, Maryland and the 2nd power plant in southeast Prince George’s County. It is close to Soil Safe which supposedly cleans contaminated soil (article 1 about abuse from Soil Safe | article 2 about abuse from Soil Safe).

Resources – Related Issues that inhibit or encourage Agritourism projects and/or Promote dirty businesses or clean air (spoken about on the tour)

Meeting and Petition to Sign – Speak out against Governor Larry Hogan’s fracked-gas / fossil fuel expansion plans

Rural Business Innovation Initiative of Maryland – does not include grants for small businesses in Prince George’s County and we think it should.

Cypress Creek Renewables – owner of solar field in Cheltenham

Nautilus Solar – Solar company responsible for largest MD solar farm in Ft. Washington (article here)

All Hands On Deck for Power Plant Info!

Do you care about the issue of power plants in Brandywine? Want to stop this proliferation? Have children at schools in Brandywine who have asthma or other health issues (or don’t want them to get health issues from pollutants)? We need your help!

We have an education effort coming up soon. Please contact us as soon as possible if you can help. Email us at cleanair@brandywinemd.com with the Subject line: Power Plants and give us your phone number (cell phone if possible for text messaging – our contacts are not on automated systems – we are local residents who are concerned). Or call 301-502-3261.

We look forward to hearing from you!