No Discounted Usage Fee for BGE on Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park Pipeline!

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Background - The City of Baltimore has allowed BGE/Exelon to build a 2 mile natural gas pipeline through the heart of Gwynns Falls Leakin Park, known as the Granite Pipeline. This pipeline has taken over 12 acres of previously forested parkland and turned it into a grassy clear-cut that will remain so for the life of the pipeline, at least 70 years.

Why Ask for Less than Fair Compensation?  Usage fees that the City was about to accept from BGE/Exelon was a one-time payment of $1.4 million dollars for 25 years of leasing. The City has refused to share with Friends of Gwynns Falls Leakin Park (FOGFLP) the amount that their own experts calculated the property to be worth. However, we understand that the City's experts calculated the value of the lost parkland to be $14 million for the 25 year term.

Failure of Due Diligence - Because of an impasse with the City, in January 2018 the FOGFLP hired an attorney to pursue a claim for a larger fee. Remarkably, our attorney immediately discovered that Baltimore City erred from the very start of the process by granting BGE/Exelon rights to construct the pipeline without having first granted the franchise rights, as required by the City Charter. To compound the problem, by agreeing to accept $1.4 million as a fee for use the City again violated its Charter by failing to “fix the compensation at the largest amount it may be able to obtain.”The City’s Law Department has acknowledged these deficiencies.

Solution - FOGFLP is requesting 2 things to correct this legal mess: 1) The City must rectify its deficiency by adopting a Franchise Ordinance that is acceptable to the citizens and park users of Baltimore. 2) It can only do this by actually performing its ‘due diligence,’ thus obtaining a fee (“compensation”) at the “largest amount it is able to obtain,” as required by the City Charter.

We urge the City to require BGE/Exelon pay a reasonable fee of $14 million dollars for the 25 year term of the Franchise Ordinance.