A comment from the floor during a meeting of residents living near a Calvert County gas plant sparked a reaction from the leader of the opposition to an expansion plan at the facility. The meeting took place Wednesday, April 16 in Lusby, a short distance from Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant. Residents living in subdivisions located near the plant were conducting a community forum sponsored by Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community (CCHC) and Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).
The groups are opposed to plans by Dominion Resources to construct a liquefaction facility at the plant. The facility would allow the company to export natural gas to foreign countries.
After a presentation by a civil engineer, detailing what he believes are safety problems at the plant and the added dangers a liquefaction unit would pose, CCAN’s leader, Mike Tidwell urged residents to write letters to their federal representatives protesting the expansion project.
Elliott Kocen of Solomons stood up and told Tidwell he had written letters to Congressman Steny Hoyer [D-MD District 5], Senator Ben Cardin [D] and Senator Barbara Mikulski [D]; and had received “PR responses. This is a done deal. You’re going to have to do something dramatic to stop it,” said Kocen.
That was all Tidwell needed to launch into a speech aimed at rallying the troops. “They want you to think this is a done deal,” he declared. Let’s just not give up. They keep waiting for us to give up. We have to keep clamoring.”
The expansion project will cost $3.8 billion and the liquefaction unit will take three years to build. While Dominion officials had hoped to have the project underway this summer, approvals from the Federal Emergency Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) have yet to be obtained. The project’s environmental assessment from FERC is not due to be released until the middle of next month.
“Wall Street is nervous about this project,” said Tidwell, who indicated the louder the protests the more skeptical potential investors will become. Tidwell told the audience he had spoken with someone affiliated with the investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs who confided the project could be falling out of favor with investors and thus on shaky ground.
When asked after the meeting if he could provide contact information for his source, Tidwell indicated he needed to get permiss