Vol. 10, No. 33

August 15-21, 2002

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Amid Sudden Sale, WHOA!!! On Cove Point LNG

The Williams Co.’s planned reactivation of the Cove Point liquid natural gas terminal in Calvert County has moved forward stealthily like a ship at midnight.

That is, of course, what it is leading toward: massive, flammable and heavily guarded foreign tankers sailing up as-yet undefined “exclusionary zones” in Chesapeake Bay.
Political leaders such as Sen. Barbara Mikulski have joined Calvert Countians questioning the wisdom of resuming these shipments in sight of a nuclear power plant in this post-9/11 world.

You don’t have to be Robert Ludlum to think up a disaster scenario.

Unrelated to terrorism threats, Bay Weekly has reported the pollution costs of this expanded industrial facility: new gas heaters and boilers would pump an additional 223 tons yearly of smog-causing pollutants into the air, according to applications filed with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Yet the project has been moved forward by obscure bureaucracies with names like FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), entities that are barely connected to people.

Here’s a new issue now: Tulsa-based Williams Co.’s sudden, pending sale of the whole shebang — the storage tanks, a gas pipeline and the offshore loading terminal — to Dominion Resources of Virginia.

We are being told by both parties, like uncles speaking to children, that everything will move forward seamlessly and only the name on the door will change.

Nonsense. Permitting for this major plant has proceeded with one set of players. Now we’re told that there’s an entirely new group running the show, one that has not heard community concerns or been party to year-long discussions about terrorism prevention and pollution control.

We believe that the review process must start over to guarantee that the new guys on the block are the competent, deep-pockets managers needed for a project posing such risks to the Chesapeake Bay.

We Marylanders don’t want to be left holding the bag — or coping with disaster at the hands of executives short on environmental stewardship.

Across the country, we have been seeing corporate irresponsibility with environmental issues much like the corporate accounting shenanigans we’re hearing about. For instance, mining companies like ASARCO Inc. are simply walking away from hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental damage, the federal government says.

In Calvert County, it’s time to review this fateful project that will, among other things, periodically close portions of the Bay to watermen and recreational boaters.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly