by Caroline Selle
There was a time when "Stop the Keystone XL!" seemed like an unlikely rallying cry for the U.S. environmental movement. After all, plenty of pipelines receive permits every year without much outrage, so why would TransCanada's request be any different? Plus, the fuel was coming from Canada, the country’s friendly northern neighbor. What could be the downside?
Plenty, according to environmental advocates. From the First Nations people who live near extraction sites in Canada, to Nebraskan farmers and ranchers concerned about the pipeline crossing a major aquifer, to families who live in Texas neighborhoods polluted by refineries, lots of people have a stake in the fight. And for climate activists, the pipeline is a test of the Obama administration's seriousness about cutting greenhouse gas emissions and ending reliance on fossil fuels. The pipeline quickly became a symbol of resistance and the center of the fight over climate policy.
If the Keystone XL is approved (an answer is expected as soon as late May), what will the U.S. environmental movement rally around next? The power plant rules that the Environmental Protection Agency is working on will be an important step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but there’s no clear "ask," as organizers like to say, other than "please finalize them."
Enter the Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. Located in Lusby, Md., Cove Point sits on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, only a 90-minute drive from Washington, D.C. Local environmental groups want to make Cove Point the next Keystone XL when it comes to organizing opposition.
By: Jonathan Wilson
The Maryland Public Service commission is in the midst of deciding whether Dominion can move forward with a $3.8 billion expansion of its Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas facility in Calvert County and environmental groups continue to put pressure on state officials to reject the plan.
Hundreds of protesters gathered on War Memorial Plaza in downtown Baltimore, many holding signs with anti-fracking slogans, or mini cardboard windmills to show their support for energy alternatives.
By Jamie Smith Hopkins
An estimated 500 people rallied Thursday in Baltimore against plans to export liquefied natural gas from a Southern Maryland facility, chanting and carrying signs past the office tower where state regulators were considering one aspect of that proposal.
The authority to approve or reject the project lies with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. But Maryland's Public Service Commission has the say over a 130-megawatt power plant that energy company Dominion says it needs for the export operation.
By Jenny Mandel
A coalition of environmental and other groups is stepping up a campaign against exporting natural gas from a facility near Lusby, Md., raising questions about the track record of the owner, Dominion Resources Inc., over a fire at an unrelated West Virginia facility.
The Blue Racer natural gas processing plant in Marshall County, W.Va., caught fire during the night in September 2013, triggering an automatic shutdown of the facility before the fire eventually burned out, according to Dominion, which operates the plant as a joint venture with Caiman Energy, an operator in the Utica Shale formation.
By Jamie Smith Hopkins
The way energy company Dominion sees it, exporting liquefied natural gas from its Southern Maryland complex wouldn't be that big of a shift from the importing it does now. Same pipes, same storage tanks, same terminal.
But the project at Cove Point strikes opponents as a sea change. Now those fighting the proposal on environmental grounds are joining forces with some Calvert County residents worried about hazards from the liquefied natural gas, or LNG, which on rare occasions has caused deadly fires or explosions.
By Bill Mckibben and Mike Tidwell
If you want to know just how bad an idea it is for America to ship “fracked” natural gas to overseas markets, travel the 65 miles from the White House to a place called Cove Point in southern Maryland.
There, right on the Chesapeake Bay, the Obama administration wants to give fast-track approval to a $3.8 billion facility (12 times the cost of the NFL Ravens stadium) to liquefy gas from all across Appalachia. The new plant, proposed by Virginia-based Dominion Resources, would somehow be built right between a coveted state park and a stretch of sleepy beach communities, with a smattering of Little League baseball fields just down the road. Along the Chesapeake itself, endangered tiger beetles cling to the shore while Maryland “watermen” hunt crabs and oysters in age-old fashion.
By Lyle Kendrick
While most eyes in the statewide fracking debate are on the Marcellus Shale region in Western Maryland, a smaller gas basin underneath Southern Maryland is drawing a Texas-based energy company’s attention.
The Shore Exploration and Production Corp. has leased 84,000 acres of land in Virginia in relation to the Taylorsville basin, but has not begun drilling.
The basin, though mostly in Virginia, runs in Maryland through most of Charles County and also goes into St. Mary’s, Prince George’s, Calvert and Anne Arundel Counties.
By AMANDA SCOTT
About 100 residents from across the state, including Calvert County, and members and leaders of environmental groups rallied Wednesday morning at the Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building in Annapolis to support legal opposition to Dominion Cove Point’s proposed liquefied natural gas exportation project.
In March 2012, Dominion filed for a declaratory judgment in Calvert County Circuit Court regarding the implications of language in a March 2005 contract agreement among Dominion, the Sierra Club and the Maryland Conservation Council. Dominion claimed the contract permits the exportation of LNG, while the Sierra Club claims the contract allows for plant expansion but not LNG exportation.
By Lyle Kendrick
A coalition of protesters stuffed papers into passing legislators’ hands calling for an extension of a statewide fracking moratorium as the General Assembly began its opening day Wednesday.
More than 75 protesters and members of environmental organizations, such as the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, met in front of the State House for the rally.
The coalition of protesters called for a bill that would mandate an 18-month review period before the General Assembly could allow any drilling permits, after a pending study concludes.
During 2011, Gov. Martin O’Malley issued an executive order preventing the Maryland Department of the Environment from approving drilling permits until the end of a scientific study looking at fracking. The study is planned to be finalized later this year.
By Tim Wheeler
Environmentalists concerned about shale gas drilling in Maryland returned to Annapolis Wednesday to try again for a legislative moratorium on "fracking," as the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing is called.
Waving signs and chanting "Protect us from fracking," activists huddled in Lawyers Mall in front of the State House just before the opening of the 90-day session of the General Assembly. Speaker after speaker called for lawmakers to block any drilling in Maryland until studies determine if it can be done safely.