Dominion had better take its plan off autopilot. The statewide campaign to stop the company's proposed Cove Point facility that would export fracked gas has taken hold. One need look no further than the Baltimore Sun's recent editorial to know that Chesapeake Climate Action Network and its broad coalition have been successful in raising serious questions about a disastrous project that was considered a done deal several months ago. (Read the full editorial here.)
The "stakes are high" but the "ramifications are great," the Sun says in its editorial. It says the project would create demand for more fracking and require a new power plant just to liquefy the gas, as well as more pipelines and compressor stations across the state. It then urges federal regulators to require an Environmental Impact Statement, the most stringent environmental review, rather than the paler Environmental Assessment:
[W]herever one stands on the project — excited about the jobs or fearful of what it may mean for global warming — everyone should agree that the proposal should be thoroughly examined and vetted to understand the potential impact and trade-offs involved. ... Would it slow down the application process? Almost certainly. ... But that seems like a small price to pay. ... FERC owes that much to the people of Maryland, and frankly, given the potential impact on global warming, the rest of the country, too.
The Sun even referred to Cove Point as Gov. Martin O'Malley's Keystone XL pipeline, because of the controversy it has created.
Can we talk?
You say you want to meet with the community, get the facts out about your $3.8 billion plan to export liquefied fracked gas from Cove Point to India and Japan. But where are you?
"We tend to overcommunicate," Bruce McKay, Dominion managing director of federal affairs, said inexplicably on WEAA-FM's Marc Steiner radio program Nov. 11.
We would like to see this "overcommunication" in action.
On the program, McKay said: "But if there's some people that don't feel they've heard enough from us along the way, let us know. We are going through and meeting with every community group that we can."
Dominion's Bruce McKay
OK, Dominion, all you have to do is stop at any home, any gas station, any store in southern Calvert County and ask: "Do you know anything about the $3.8 billion fossil fuel plant Dominion is proposing?" The answer you will likely get is that people know next to nothing. And this is your fault, Dominion. If you have "overcommunicated" with residents, why haven't they heard from you? Leading homeowners associations haven't been contacted by you either.
So, Dominion, we're letting you know. You are failing in the communication department. Calvert County residents, we're letting you know, too. Email [email protected] to let Dominion know you are being kept in the dark.
At one time, few people came to Dominion's public meetings because they were "so boring," an almost wistful Dominion spokesman, Don Donovan, told WAMU-FM in recent a news report.
Well, they're attending now. Calvert County residents are taking note and finding nothing boring about Dominion's plan for a $3.8 billion facility at Cove Point to export fracked natural gas to India and Japan.
People don't come "unless somebody scares them to come," Donovan said.
Or maybe they find out the stark truths hidden behind the fancy news releases about jobs (not so many permanent ones) and tax revenue (minus some hefty tax giveaways). After a news conference called by a Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN)-led coalition in September, regional media have been waking up to Calvert County as ground zero in this scheme. And residents of Lusby, who live closest to the planned facility, are making their voices heard. So far, coverage of the "Clean Energy, Not Cove Point" campaign has appeared in Southern Maryland Newspapers Online (SoMdNews), Bay Net, the Bay Journal, WAMU-FM, the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, the Daily Record (subscription req'd), the Frederick News-Post, and WJZ-TV.
It's almost time. The Maryland Crossroads 2013 Tour is just days away. We're coming together to say "YES" to a clean energy future for Maryland and "NO" to dirty fracked gas exports from Cove Point.
Bad news from Huffington Post: The Canadian Arctic has reached the highest temperatures in at least 44,000 years. Gifford Miller, a researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, says, "This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere." This study reaffirms that global temperatures are rising at an unprecedented rate: we’ve seen a warming trend for the past century, but the process has been accelerating significantly since the 1970s and has skyrocketed in the last twenty years. Miller didn’t end on a happy note. “We expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming.
The first town hall meeting concerning the risks of the proposed Cove Point LNG export terminal in Maryland was held Tuesday night, October 23. It was a big and rousing success. At least 300 people attended, most of them local residents. It was held at the Southern Community Center in Lusby, Md. in Calvert County, just a few miles from where Dominion Resources wants to build an industrial terminal to export fracked natural gas -- piped in from Appalachia -- and ship it to India and Japan. The $3.8 billion facility would chill the gas to 270 degrees below zero, turning it into liquid for 1000-foot-long shipping tankers coming into the Bay. It would generate 3.3 million tons of CO2 pollution per year. (You can learn more about the health and environmental risks of exporting fracked gas from Maryland by clicking here.)
Welcome back to the Weekly Climate Insider!
In Maryland, fracking and the results of the Environment America study posted in last week’s Climate Insider are still making headlines. As a recap, the report found that our water supply is put at risk by the billions of gallons of dirty wastewater produced by fracking. See the coverage from Capital News Service.
This week, we’re profiling two Maryland businesses that are environmentally newsworthy.
A Maryland construction company called Hobbitat builds small houses made out of reclaimed materials. The 250 square foot houses, called “hobs,” are made almost exclusively from from salvaged or repurposed materials, nearly eliminating the adverse effects of new construction. In energy terms, “The hobs' square footage is about 11 percent of the median U.S. house size, so much less energy is required to heat and cool them.” Check out some photos of these gorgeous little hobs!
In the fight against climate change and dirty energy polluters, there’s a lot going on. Some of it is good -- take the global boom in solar power and its increasing affordability. Some of it just encourages us to push harder and faster. But whether the news is encouraging or frustrating, local or global, knowledge is power. That’s why we’re bringing you a new recurring blog post from CCAN: The Weekly Climate Insider.
Every week, we’ll keep you in the loop with important climate stories impacting Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and beyond. We’ll touch on big issues in our campaigns, like the threat of fracking and sea level rise, and we’ll also bring you broader climate news.
Let’s get started.
At Benjamin Franklin High School, a human rights-focused student group called Free Your Voice is mobilizing their community to fight back against a potential environmental and public health catastrophe. CCAN is excited to partner with them as they fight to give their community a voice.
Two weeks ago, a group of environmental organizations, waterman, nurses, and concerned citizens stood outside of the Public Service Commission in Baltimore to launch our No to Cove Point LNG Exports Campaign. It was a great press conference - lots of media and onlookers. I stood there and watched a host of people speak, everyone from a representative of a national non-profit to a member of a local Cove Point Homeowners Association. I got to meet activists from all over Maryland. I was on day 3 of my new job, and I was impressed.