All press inquiries should be directed to Communications Director Kelly Trout.
email: [email protected]
Environmentalists Warn Investors Over “Cove Point” Gas Plan in Maryland: Analysis Shows Dominion’s $3.8 Billion Export Proposal for East Coast Fracked Gas Could Rest on Thin Financial Ice
Research released today by project opponents reveals dearth of evidence that company has secured critical project loan amid escalating legal, grassroots and moral challenges. Opponents caution investors: You will step into instant controversy, uncertainty, and delay.
BALTIMORE, MD-- On December 17th, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that "Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau today joined Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to announce the proposed notice of sale for nearly 80,000 acres offshore Maryland for commercial wind energy leasing."
Offshore wind is Maryland’s single largest source of clean energy, with enough potential to power more than one third of Maryland’s homes and businesses. So it can and should be a foundational element of Maryland’s strategy for transitioning to a clean energy economy.
December 11, 2013
Mr. Daniel A. Weekley
Vice President – Government Affairs
120 Tredegar St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Dear Mr. Weekley,
I am in receipt of you letter dated November 25, 2013. Please find below a point-by-point response to the issues that you raised. Given the very large scope of your $3.8 billion proposal to liquefy gas from hydraulic fracking and ship it to Asia via the Chesapeake Bay, we continue to regret Dominion’s resistance to conducting a standard Environmental Impact Statement. This resistance to a customary federal EIS, perhaps above all else, has become a widespread and deep concern among many, many Marylanders.
Retirements will Protect Public Health, Continue Maryland’s Transition to Clean Energy
Annapolis, Maryland - This week, NRG Energy signaled that it plans to retire the Chalk Point and Dickerson coal plants in May 2017. Chalk Point, located along the Patuxent River in Prince George’s County, and Dickerson, located in Montgomery County, are 2 of only 7 remaining coal plants in the state. Advocates cheered the decision stating that these retirements will protect public health and continue Maryland’s transition from dirty, outdated coal towards more clean energy. Now advocates are calling for NRG Energy, Governor O’Malley and the Maryland legislature, and all people who care about justice and fairness to ensure a responsible transition for affected workers.
“As Maryland invests in more clean energy, polluting coal plants like Chalk Point and Dickerson are now obsolete,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies which has contributed $50 million to Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. “Marylanders will benefit from the retirement of these two plants with cleaner air, lower healthcare costs, and less climate-disrupting pollution. What's more, this officially marks 30% of all the nation's coal plants announcing retirement since 2010. Make no mistake -- coal is going away for good."
Polling released same day shows 81% of MD voters at odds with Virginia-based Dominion over need for federal environmental impact statement
Ahead of 2014 public hearings, 'Maryland Crossroads' tour will carry 'Clean Energy, Not Cove Point' call to action from Appalachia to Eastern Shore
BALTIMORE—A statewide coalition of environmental, health, faith and public interest groups is today launching an unprecedented nine-stop tour to rally public opposition to what they call a "radical" plan to export fracked natural gas to Asia through southern Maryland. The tour, called "Maryland Crossroads 2013: Clean Energy, Not Cove Point!," begins this evening in Annapolis and will tour the state from Cumberland to Salisbury by early December. Each town hall meeting will educate Marylanders about the dangers of a Virginia-based company's plan to build a $3.8 billion fuel export facility at Cove Point—triggering pollution from drilling, piping, liquefying and shipping gas—when real clean-energy alternatives exist.
At a kick-off press conference this morning in Baltimore, tour organizers released polling data showing a large, bipartisan majority of Maryland voters—81 percent—believe federal regulators should complete a full, cumulative environmental impact statement (EIS) on the Cove Point project. Thus far, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has sided with project backer Dominion Resources and indicated that it will only complete a less rigorous environmental "assessment," which is typically reserved for projects of smaller size and scope. The federal environmental review is one step in a series of federal and state permits Dominion needs before it can begin construction. The Maryland Public Service Commission will hold its first hearings on the Cove Point project in mid-February 2014.
120+ groups from across Maryland and the region urge Governor O'Malley to intervene; as first step, he must demand a federal "Environmental Impact Statement"
$3.8 billion industrial project would trigger the state's biggest single source of global warming pollution, endanger local communities and the Chesapeake Bay, and ignite a new wave of fracking and pipelines
BALTIMORE—An unprecedented coalition of concerned citizens—from business leaders to watermen to environmentalists—announced its opposition Tuesday to a proposed $3.8 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility on the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County, Maryland. Standing outside the Public Service Commission office in downtown Baltimore, the group declared its intention to challenge an upcoming series of federal, state and local permits needed by Virginia-based Dominion Resources before it can begin construction. Against a backdrop of posters saying "No LNG Exports on Chesapeake Bay," they unveiled a letter signed by more than 120 groups urging Governor Martin O'Malley to stand with them against the project, given the great harm it could inflict on Maryland communities, the climate and the Chesapeake Bay.
Coalition members said Governor O'Malley should, as a minimum first step, demand that the federal government prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that carefully considers the implications of building an LNG export terminal on the Chesapeake Bay. Much to the dismay of local citizens, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has indicated that it will only prepare an Environmental Assessment, which is a far less detailed impact review.
With LNG Export Approval, DOE Shortchanges American Public, Ignores Economic and Safety Concerns
Cove Point project would hike energy costs, threaten public safety, harm Chesapeake Bay
WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Energy announced today it had granted conditional approval to the Dominion Cove Point LNG facility to export liquefied natural gas to non-free trade agreement countries, pending an environmental review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The $3.8 billion project would transform a sleepy natural gas import facility on the Chesapeake Bay into a massive export hub and hasten the already hectic pace of fracking for natural gas in the nearby Marcellus and Utica shale regions.
But as recently as last week, FERC regulators were raising concerns with Dominion about the safety of the project pointing to the potential for a "fireball" connected to on-site chemical storage. And while economic benefits of the project are heavily in dispute, all experts agree that it would raise domestic energy prices.
Dominion still faces major hurdles before the project can proceed. The company needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has yet to complete its environmental review. Dominion also needs approval from Maryland utility regulators as well as more than 60 permits and approvals. There is still pending litigation over whether Dominion has the right to build this facility or if it breaks an earlier legal agreement with Sierra Club.
The following are statements from groups that have aligned in opposition to this project:
Beth Kemler, Virginia State Director at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, had the following response to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's announcement that Dominion Resources has won today's auction for the rights to develop Virginia's 112,800-acre offshore wind energy area:
"We're excited to see that offshore wind power is inching closer and closer to being a reality off Virginia's coast. We're anxious to see this massive resource start powering Virginia homes and businesses with clean energy.
"While Dominion came out on top today, that unfortunately doesn't guarantee that the company will actually erect a single turbine. The company could rent the wind energy area for years without moving forward with any development, preventing a more eager company from doing so. In fact, Dominion Virginia Power's recently released long-range energy plan prioritizes new fossil fuel projects over offshore wind power development, rejecting offshore wind power even as a back-up plan. This doesn't leave us with high hopes for Dominion's speedy development of this clean energy resource.
Clean Energy Coalition Launches Statewide Campaign
RICHMOND -- Within ten years, energy efficiency, solar and wind could power about a million Virginia homes—likely at a lower cost than building new fossil fuel-fired power plants—according to a detailed analysis released today. Bringing new clean energy sources online would cost between $633 million and $1.78 billion less than Dominion Virginia Power's current plan to build two large natural gas-fired power plants, the report found. Further, clean energy investments by Dominion would yield additional benefits for all Virginians, including cleaner air as well as reduced carbon pollution, which contributes to rising sea levels and stronger storms.
A coalition of environmental groups released the 30-page analysis in advance of Dominion's 2013 long-range plan, which the company is required to file by September 1. When the "Integrated Resource Plan" goes before the State Corporation Commission for approval, the groups will encourage policymakers and the public to evaluate Dominion's plan through the lens of this analysis. Dominion is the state's largest electric utility, providing power to about two-thirds of Virginians.
Environmental groups today filed the first-ever lawsuit challenging the federal government's financing for the export of Appalachian coal from the United States. The U.S. government approved this financial support for coal exports without considering the increased toxic air and water pollution that could affect communities near the mines and ports, and along the railways that connect them.
The groups filing the lawsuit charge that the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) violated federal law by providing a $90 million loan guarantee to Xcoal Energy & Resources without reviewing the environmental impacts as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). According to Ex-Im Bank, the taxpayer-backed financing, approved on May 24, 2012, will help leverage a billion dollars in exports of coal mined in Appalachia. The coal will be shipped from ports in Baltimore, Maryland and Norfolk, Virginia to markets in Japan, South Korea, China and Italy.
"Ex-Im Bank turned a blind eye to the toxic coal dust, heavy train traffic and disruptive noise that our members living near ports and railways experience on a daily basis," said Diana Dascalu-Joffe, senior general counsel at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. "People on the front lines of the U.S. coal export boom deserve to know the risks and to have a say over whether their tax dollars finance it."