SHARPSBURG, Md. — A group of activists in kayaks have taken to the Potomac River to protest a proposed 3.5-mile natural gas pipeline that would cross underneath the waterway in western Maryland.

Friday’s demonstration near Sharpsburg was the latest in a series of actions by opponents of TransCanada’s Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project. The pipeline would carry natural gas from Pennsylvania through Maryland and into West Virginia.

Calgary-based TransCanada says the project will support economic growth in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. Economic development officials there told The Baltimore Sun they support the project.

But environmental groups who have been protesting this summer say a leak could threaten drinking water. They also say projects like the pipeline deepen the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles told the newspaper state officials are “taking a hard look” at the project.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also must approve it.