A proposed natural gas export facility in Southern Maryland cleared another hurdle Thursday, when a federal review found the controversial project poses no significant risks to nearby residents’ safety and no major environmental impacts.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff concluded that “with appropriate mitigating measures” the $3.8 billion project could go forward to build a gas liquefaction plant, a gas-fired power plant and to convert an existing import terminal at Cove Point, on the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County.
Dominion, an energy company based in Richmond, Va., welcomed the conclusions of the 230-page environmental assessment. The company wants to export up to 5.75 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas annually from Cove Point, which has seen only sporadic import activity in the nearly 40 years since it was built.
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other federal and state agencies that reviewed our proposal are to be commended for their thorough and independent assessment. The 241-page report represents nearly two years of study, tens of thousands of pages of documentation and many thousands of hours of work. This marks another important step forward in a project that has very significant economic benefits and helps two allied nations in their efforts to increase their energy security and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” said Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy.
“The Cove Point LNG facility has been in existence for nearly 40 years and this makes the most of existing facilities. This project will be built within the existing footprint and fence line of an industrial site. There is no need for additional pipelines, storage tanks or permanent piers, thus limiting its impact and making an environmental assessment appropriate,” Leopold said.
Sean Hackbarth of FreeEnterprise.com noted that the Department of Energy gave approval in 2013 for Dominion to export liquefied natural gas from Cove Point. Hackbarth also wrote about a protest earlier this year in Baltimore:
The protesters admit the fight against Cove Point is really a fight against hydraulic fracturing and the continued use of shale energy.
However, they don’t admit that it’s also a fight against the economic benefits from expansion of the facility. Three thousand construction jobs along with $40 million in new revenue per year for Calvert County will be generated—and that’s just from Cove Point. For the economy as a whole, it’s been well-documented that shale energy production has had a positive impact.
Here’s an interview with Mike Frederick, Vice President of LNG Operations for Dominion (Source: Dominion):
Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.
Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.