Opinion by Sarah Bur, The Baltimore Sun, April 8, 2014
Thank you for covering the controversy regarding the proposed Dominion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility at Cove Point (“Calvert County Cove Point opponents, supporters flood state with comments“, April 3).
The Cove Point project has far-reaching potential impact on human health and environmental quality in every phase of the process — extraction, transportation, liquefaction, shipping, re-gasification and distribution of the natural gas abroad. We are especially concerned about the impact Dominion’s proposal will have on climate and air quality in Maryland. The proposed 130 megawatt power plant required to liquefy the natural gas would be Maryland’s fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter, just behind our three major coal-fired power plants.
Dominion also has failed to demonstrate that it will minimize emissions of harmful air contaminants, such as nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, from both the facility and associated marine vessels, as required by the federal Clean Air Act. A system of pipelines and compressor stations across Maryland would threaten our ecosytem and quality of life. The project also threatens the last remaining fresh water aquifer in Lusby, Maryland. Finally, the increased demand for natural gas will result in increased pressure to open Maryland to fracking operations and undermine the O’Malley administration’s efforts to implement clean energy and energy efficiency initiatives to reduce Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
We believe that any thorough and objective examination of the harm vs. benefits of this proposal will show that the Maryland public will come out a significant loser, while the gas industry profits.
Currently the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is not even requiring an Environmental Impact Statement for this $3.8 billion undertaking. We recommend that the Maryland Public Service Commission deny permission to construct the proposed power plant and that a full Environmental Impact Statement be required.
On behalf of Quakers (Friends) from nine Quaker Meetings in central and southern Maryland, and with future generations in our hearts and on our minds,
Sarah Bur, Baltimore
The writer is clerk of the Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).