Environmentalists 5 13

Environmental Groups Voice
Objections to Cove Point

A coalition led by the Sierra Club is objecting to what it asserts are the negative environmental impacts posed by the Dominion Cove Point LNG export terminal on the Chesapeake Bay, charging the project would hurt the bay’s economy and ecology, increase air pollution, and hasten hydraulic fracturing in neighboring states. The coalition, made up of the Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Patuxent Riverkeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, and Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, filed public comments and a motion to intervene with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, calling on the agency to conduct a thorough environmental review or prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the project.

The coalition argues the development of the export facility in Lusby, Md. would result in major damage to the Chesapeake Bay, coastal forests, and the local economy, which depends on the seafood and tourism industries. “The communities that surround the Chesapeake depend on the bay and its rivers for our food, livelihood, and way of life,” said Robin Broder, vice president of Potomac Riverkeeper. “It’s unthinkable that federal officials would rubber stamp this project without a careful look at how our bay and upstream communities and natural resources will be affected by increased fracking for natural gas.”

The group states it is concerned about a substantial increase in ship traffic “of huge, and potentially explosive, LNG tankers on the bay and to Cove Point,” and that billions of gallons of wastewater will be dumped into waterways if the project is approved and constructed. Other concerns include impacts on plants, animals, and migratory birds, and most pointedly that demand for natural gas exports “will mean more dangerous fracking….”

“LNG facilities, like the one proposed for Cove Point, are intended to ship natural gas extracted in this country off to foreign lands,” said Michael Helfrich of Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper. “The result is that gas drillers will make more money, while natural gas prices increase for Americans. This shale gas gold rush will ravage communities and the environment with untold miles of new pipelines and infrastructure through the Susquehanna watershed. It may be a win for gas drillers, but it throws the idea of American energy independence out the window.”