Lusby, MD – The added number of permanent jobs an ongoing local plant expansion is expected to yield has gotten significantly larger. During a presentation to the Calvert County Commissioners Tuesday, March 22, Dominion Cove Point Vice President of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Operations Mike Frederick told the board the number of new jobs at the Lusby plant has been revised.

Originally, Dominion officials expected to add 75 employees to the LNG plant’s staff once a $3.8 billion project was completed. The plan now is to add 99 workers to the staff, bringing the total to 199.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed in late 2017, will give the gas plant the capability of exporting natural gas to foreign nations. Frederick explained most of the new hires would be a blend of local and national applicants. Dominion expects between four and 22 of the new hires to be from foreign countries, Frederick explained.

Company officials have recently reported the Cove Point Liquefaction Project is transitioning from underground work and concrete foundations to installing structures and heavy equipment. Dominion officials reported most of the project’s concrete pours will be completed by the end of March.

Frederick also indicated the concrete sound wall buffering the project area is also nearing completion.

Additionally, over half of the barge deliveries of heavy project components have been completed. About 1,200 laborers—skilled craft and subcontractors—are working on-site. Frederick reported the work will reach its peak this year when approximately 1,600 laborers are on-site.

The project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) in September 2014, culminating a lengthy process.

During the March 22 presentation several commissioners commended Dominion officials for the project’s current safety record.

Safety, however, remains a huge concern with some county residents. During the meeting’s public comment period Linda Morin of Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community (CCHC) repeated the organization’s demand that the commissioners call for a quantitative risk assessment (QRA). Morin stated the additional equipment that will give the plant export capability is adding to the risk the facility poses to the community. “This has the potential for catastrophe,” said Morin, who chided the commissioners for placing “blind faith” in Dominion.

Another CCHC member, Lili Sheeline of Port Republic, showed the commissioners a graph indicating the plant was a safety and health risk when it was an import facility. Sheeline stated the QRA “is required under current standards. You [commissioners] can call for a QRA.”

The commissioners did not immediately respond to the CCHC members’ comments.

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