Save Sparrow’s Point From the Energy Barons
Standing last Sunday on the northeastern edge of Anne Arundel County, the obvious solution occurred to us as we gazed across the Patapsco River at a looming threat.
Nobody we know except for a Virginia energy conglomerate trying to profit in Pennsylvania and points north wants to see a liquefied natural gas plant built at Sparrow’s Point at the old Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in eastern Baltimore County.
You may or may not recall that the energy company, AES Corp., was one of two corporations fined after the infamous California electricity shortage a few years back for discussions about prolonging the power outage at a Southern California power plant to increase electricity scarcity and drive up prices.
Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold last week strengthened the opposition to the plant that he expressed during his election campaign. “This is the wrong project in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.
This week, Gov. Martin O’Malley concurred, saying his administration has a host of serious concerns, most of them environmental.
All of us still have a problem. Control over gas-plant siting was stripped from states and localities by Congress. Decisions are made now by the industry-friendly Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, much as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission decides where nuclear plants are located. That’s why a Baltimore County law aiming to halt the project was struck down recently in federal court.
The solution: The state should purchase the property. John Porcari, Maryland’s new transportation secretary, remarked recently that the property could be used some day by the Port of Baltimore.
But why not consider other uses in a region starved for parks and public access? The only limit to the use of this Bayside land, covering several hundred acres, is the boundaries of our imagination.
The O’Malley administration and the General Assembly need to devise a plan now to show that one-party government in Annapolis works.