Today, one week following a peaceful sit-in by four activists in Cumberland, four central Maryland residents were arrested outside the Frederick County Courthouse protesting the proposed Cove Point fracked gas export facility. The four protesters—including a county commission candidate, an asthma sufferer, a mother, and a Frederick resident who grew up playing baseball in Cove Point Park—blocked the courthouse entrance to demand a full and fair federal environmental impact review of Dominion's controversial $3.8 billion plan.
In Frederick County, the citizens of Myersville are fighting Dominion over a 16,000 horsepower gas compressor that the company wants to build--despite unanimous opposition from the town council -- less than a mile from the only elementary school. The Myersville compressor station is part of the web of fossil fuel infrastructure that Dominion could use to pipe gas from fracking wells across Appalachia to southern Maryland, where the gas would be liquefied and exported to Asia
In the following statements, the protesters explain why Cove Point matters to central Maryland, and why they engaged in peaceful civil disobedience to stop it. (Click here for a PDF of their statements.)
Today, a Unitarian minister, two students native to western Maryland, and another local resident engaged in a peaceful sit-in outside the Allegany County Courthouse in Cumberland to protest Cove Point. This massive $3.8 billion project, proposed by Virginia-based Dominion, would take nearly a billion cubic feet of gas per day from fracking wells across the Appalachian region, liquefy it on the Chesapeake Bay, and export it to Asia.
The four Maryland citizens were arrested after blocking the courthouse entrance to demand justice in the controversial federal handling of Cove Point. Despite the potentially region-transforming fracking, pollution, and climate impacts of Dominion's plan, federal regulators have thus far refused to conduct a full and fair Environmental Impact Statement -- the type of review most protective of public health and safety and customary for a polluting facility as huge as Cove Point.
In the following statements, the protesters explain why Cove Point matters to Western Marylanders, and why they engaged in peaceful civil disobedience to stop it. (Click here for a PDF of their full statements.)
This piece by CCAN Director Mike Tidwell, Katie Huffling, Program Director for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and Joelle Novey, Director of Interfaith Power and Light, was originially published on DeSmog Blog.
Fifty years ago the US Surgeon General’s report on cigarettes and lung cancer changed America forever. Before the report, Americans generally thought smoking was okay – maybe even good for us given ads like, “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette!” But then the hard evidence – the undeniable facts – came to the surface and we changed.
That’s the good news. The bad news for Maryland is that we have a new “Camel cigarette” problem. For the past several months, a powerful corporation called Dominion Resources has been telling Marylanders that we can light something else on fire – something called “fracked gas” – and that it will be good for public health and the environment.
Elisabeth Hoffman is a blogger with Climate Howard. This post is also available on their blog.
A boisterous, determined, chanting, sign-waving crowd of at least 700 people from across the state and beyond converged on sunny Baltimore today to say that Dominion Resources’ planned Cove Point export facility for fracked gas is a threat to our health, our economy, our climate and our future.
“Maryland is here today because Maryland is at risk,” shouted Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, at the rally at the War Memorial Plaza downtown.
Nearby, the Public Service Commission was considering whether Virginia-based Dominion’s planned 130-megawatt gas-fired power plant and liquefaction facility would be in the “public interest.”
This week’s climate insider will give you the scoop on CCAN’s 2014 legislative priorities in Maryland and Virginia. Both states’ legislative sessions kicked off on Wednesday, January 8th, and CCAN will be busy pushing climate solutions to the forefront of our legislators’ agendas.
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 type of 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.