Calvert County elected officials, business leaders and hundreds of residents have submitted letters of support for the Dominion Cove Point natural gas export project with the Maryland Public Service Commission.
Those comments were joined by about 20,000 additional comments in support of the $3.6-to-$3.8 billion LNG export project submitted by members of the building trades, which has been unabashed in their support of the project that would bring 3,000 construction jobs and millions of dollars in economic benefit to the county.
“Our plan to invest further in Calvert County by adding an LNG export operation within the footprint of our existing import facility has drawn tremendous support from elected officials, business leaders and residents of Calvert County, Southern Maryland and beyond,” said Michael D. Frederick, vice president-LNG Operations. “The supporters join us in recognizing the clear public benefits the project brings to the region and the state. Along with significant economic benefits, exporting liquefied natural gas from Cove Point could have equally significant environmental benefits,” Frederick said.
“LNG exports from Cove Point can help avoid millions of tons of CO2 emissions every year by replacing coal for generating electricity,” he said. “The facility will recycle heat from the liquefaction process to generate electricity, thus avoiding as much as another 300,000 tons of CO2 equivalent each year. Furthermore, the Cove Point project will have one of the smallest environmental footprints of all the LNG export projects proposed in the United States and will be built within the confines of existing facilities. There is no need to construct a new pipeline, storage tanks or a pier to load ships.”
More than 400 Calvert County residents submitted individual letters of support. Letters also came from the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners, the Calvert County Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce, the Calvert County Health Department, Leadership Southern Maryland and the Patuxent Partnership.
Dominion has asked the Maryland PSC for permission to build the power block that is necessary to chill natural gas to its liquid form so that it can be exported safely and economically. The commission heard testimony and witness cross examinations for three days in February and hosted a one-day public comment session in Calvert County in March. Its decision is expected by the end of May.
Dominion also needs the permission of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to proceed to construction. The FERC has announced that it will issue an environmental assessment of the project on May 15, which would start a public comment period. Dominion gave the FERC notice of the project in June 2012 and has filed more than 21,000 pages of documentation in support of the application.