To the Editor:
At the April 12 Maryland Department of Environment hearing 13-NT-0137-2013-60606 regarding making a temporary easement into a permanent one, there were about 100 concerned citizens attending and many spoke. I was pleasantly surprised that the MDE officials allowed public comments regarding more than the quarter acre that is actually being considered. The actual stream crossing and bridge are just the tip of the iceberg. Dominion Cove Point will be done with Area A soon and plan to give it to Calvert County. The county commissioners really want this as a free park, with a large (nearly 100 acre) parking lot, several large metal buildings and some smaller ones. The 100 acre wood was already deforested to make the parking and lay -up area to construct the $3.8 billion LNG liquefaction and compression refinery being constructed on Cove Point Road near the residences of many families.
It seems to me that if the county gets its way, the New Cove Point Park across from Cove Point on the west side of Rt 2/4 will be a natural progression to stop use of the current Cove Point Park. Commissioners President Tom Hejl commented at the meeting that that was not in the plan “as of now.” That’s little assurance that it won’t happen in the near future when Dominion Cove Point decides it needs the land that it owns at Cove Point Park for further expansion. They can cite priority needs due to the proximity to their plant and give us another round of hush money to sweeten the deal as a good neighbor. But expand they must to keep up the corporate profits at the expense of the health of the community.
Dominion Cove Point and Calvert County Commissioners; why don’t you work out a deal where there are deeds given to the county for both of the land parcels with covenants specified that they will remain as parkland forever? None of this; I’ll let you use the property as long as you want but I keep ownership on the land so if I change my mind later I can renege on the deal. Do a good deed and make a good deed for both Cove Point Park and the Offsite Area A – New Cove Point Park. While you’re at it try to give the parks new names that don’t remind me of the LNG refinery. How about Former 100 Acre Wood?
And how about making it a forest park for the county with trails, bee and butterfly gardens and solar demonstrations? A demonstration forest that shows how desolate parking lots can be returned to nature with good stewardship. A long term project to show our youth how an area that was once an industrial area can return to a place for wildlife, recreation, education and environmental protection. I can imagine the interpretive programs and projects for local Scouts and 4H and such learning while getting good outdoor exercise building trails and habitats and having camporees. The things they will learn while observing the succession from weeds and grasses through small trees to large trees and on to the climax forest.
I can envision class field trips from ChesPax visiting the forest park to learn stewardship, land reclamation and stormwater management along critical watersheds leading to our most precious resources: the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay.
I can envision local high schools using this land as a biological laboratory for learning about our local flora and fauna. And College of Southern Maryland establishing data collection points on the progress of the reclamation and establishing experimental gardens and plots to do scientific studies. And move the Calvert County Tourist Information Center there to give out info on all of the wonders of our beautiful rural legacy county.