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MEA Site Visit: Route 13 in Somerset County

By David Giusti

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) visited Somerset County to observe and learn more about the natural gas infrastructure that is being installed alongside Route 13 in Princess Anne, Maryland. Before heading out to the job site, MEA staff met with Project Managers Matt Henderson (Peninsula Pipeline), Jerry Lewis (Florida Public Utilities) and Chief Inspector Angel Hernandez, Sr. (Patrick Engineering) to discuss the project, pipeline safety, and natural gas distribution expansion generally. These professional contractors shared an incredible range of knowledge and experience with MEA representatives, including: Director Dr. Mary Beth Tung, Assistant Division Director of Policy Landon Fahrig, Division Director of Finance and Administration Wyatt Shiflett, Chief of Staff Christopher Rice, Intergovernmental Affairs Policy Manager Richard Mallory, Division Director of Energy Programs Eric Coffman, and Program Manager David Giusti. Safety came first and the MEA team donned appropriate Personal Protective Equipment before heading out to observe operations on Route 13.

From left to right: Eric Coffman, Christopher Rice, David Giusti, Richard Mallory, Wyatt Shiflett, Landon Fahrig, and Dr. Mary Beth Tung.

Construction of the natural gas pipeline in Somerset County began in the first quarter of 2021, and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year. The pipeline will extend from Eden through Princess Anne in order to serve  the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) and the Eastern Correctional Institute (ECI), as well as other businesses and residences in the region. The service will support the process of upgrading heating and energy operations that currently utilize dirtier fuels to cleaner and more efficient natural gas systems. By converting to clean and affordable natural gas, UMES will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 600 tons per year, and is expected to reduce annual fuel costs by half, saving $700,000 a year. This transition will allow UMES to reinvest more resources back into the historically black university and its students. The pipeline will also connect to ECI and replace its aging central plant with state of the art natural gas fueled combined heat and power, or “CHP”, energy equipment further reducing emissions and improving resilience. 

MEA has been proud to partner with UMES and Maryland Environmental Service to implement the executed grant agreements, presently totalling $1.35 million, for the conversion of their downstream energy infrastructure. This investment will result in fewer diesel delivery trucks on Maryland’s roads, significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at UMES and ECI, more affordable energy commodity bills for both institutions, and much needed economic development for Somerset County.

Please contact David Giusti, the Maryland Energy Infrastructure Program Grant Program Manager, at or via phone at (410) 913-2387 (office) with any questions or concerns regarding program eligibility or application requirements.