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Shale Energy Opponents Target Maryland Natural Gas Terminal

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Liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker ship
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker ship
A liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker moored off Sodegaura City, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg.

Environmentalists have found their next target to demagogue:  Dominion’s $3.8 billion investment to add natural gas liquefaction (LNG) and export facilities to the Cove Point facility in Calvert County, Maryland.   In fact, they’ve already deemed it the “Keystone of the East."

To drum up attention, they’re planning a protest in Baltimore on Thursday.

The protesters admit the fight against Cove Point is really a fight against hydraulic fracturing and the continued use of shale energy. 

However, they don’t admit that it’s also a fight against the economic benefits from expansion of the facility. Three thousand construction jobs along with $40 million in new revenue per year for Calvert County will be generated—and that’s just from Cove Point.  For the economy as a whole, it's been well-documented that shale energy production has had a positive impact. 

What’s more, Cove Point and other LNG export facilities will help America become an energy exporter instead of an energy importer—improving our trade balance and America's energy security as well as creating jobs and revenue here at home.

Like the Keystone XL pipeline, the Cove Point project is undergoing an exhaustive review.   Over 50 federal, state and local permits are needed, and Dominion has been working over the past 20 months to provide over 20,000 pages of documentation to regulators.   The Cove Point expansion is designed to minimize its local and environmental footprint, including efforts to ensure that there will be no discharges into the Chesapeake Bay.

The LNG export terminal has the support of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and the Calvert County Chamber, as well as numerous labor organizations along with local government support:

In his remarks during the briefing, Calvert County Commissioner Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R] declared the Cove Point project has “unanimous support from the Board of County Commissioners. We’ve spent many hours debating this project. It will have a tremendous economic impact for the people of Calvert County. I’m proud of Calvert County for stepping up.”

Let’s not grant the environmentalists their wish and turn Cove Point into another Keystone, a symbol solely intended to generate headlines and swell protest groups’ email lists.  The Cove Point review process should not be politicized, and the decision should be made based on fact.

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