Honoring a request submitted by environmentalists, Maryland’s two U.S. senators have written to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting the panel conduct additional meetings on the Dominion Cove Point expansion project in Calvert County.
The letter from Democrats Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin is dated March 6 and addressed to FERC’s Acting Chair Cheryl A. LaFluer and the three other commission members. The senators noted in their letter many constituents throughout the state have expressed concerns about Dominion’s plan to construct a $3.8 billion liquefaction facility at the Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant in Lusby. The facility would give Dominion the capability to export natural gas to Asia. Currently, the 40-year-old facility on the Chesapeake Bay only has import capabilities.
At the request of Congressman Steny H. Hoyer [D-MD District 5], FERC will hold a meeting on the project in Calvert County.
“We are writing to ask the commission to ‘go the extra mile’ to engage the public to the fullest extent possible by holding additional public meetings,” the senators’ letter stated.
The environmentalists and citizens who contacted Mikulski and Cardin have requested the additional meetings be held in Garrett, Frederick, Baltimore, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties.
The citizens’ group wrote brief explanations for the selected counties’ relevance to the project.
Garrett County is in the Marcellus Shale territory where a controversial hydraulic drilling process called fracking has been occurring. Currently, there is a fracking moratorium in the Maryland portion of the Marcellus Shale.
Frederick County has been cited as a battleground due to controversy surrounding a compression station planned for Myersville. Dominion officials are on record as declaring the Myersville facility would not have any connection to the Cove Point Liquefaction unit.
The environmentalists stated Baltimore County is significant due to the possible expansion of the Columbia Pipeline.
Montgomery County was identified as significant due to the presence of the Culpepper Basin. Anne Arundel County was selected because it is part of the Taylorsville Basin.
The Culpepper and Taylorsville basins are seen by environmentalists as fracking locations once the natural gas supply in the Marcellus Shale has been exhausted.
Last week Dominion officials cited consultants’ reports that the Marcellus Shale contains an abundanc