Tell Hogan: Cove Point is a Potential Disaster – Stop the Project Until Further Study

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The liquified natural gas loading pier at the Dominion Cove Point LNG facility, Maryland. Photo: Acroterion - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
The liquified natural gas loading pier at the Dominion Cove Point LNG facility, Maryland. Photo: Acroterion - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

On May 4, the We are Cove Point organization is asking for Marylanders to call Governor Larry Hogan’s office to demand he order a public and thorough safety study for the fracked gas export terminal Dominion is building in the community of Cove Point, Maryland. “We want him to order a halt in construction while the safety study is performed,” the group says.

Emissions have been detected coming from the fracked gas export terminal Dominion is building in the Cove Point community of Lusby, in Calvert County Maryland. This is well ahead of even the rosiest of projected completion dates. Residents have been fighting this terminal for the past few years, many with the assumption that the air would be unhealthy for them and their families if the terminal is completed and opens. Since the facility has been mostly dormant for the past 40 years as an import terminal, there’s been less concern about health risks prior to the project’s completion. However, new footage shows Dominion is already polluting the air at Cove Point.

In 2006, a detailed safety study called a quantitative risk assessment (QRA) was conducted on the then-import terminal at Cove Point. A QRA is a study that looks at what could go wrong with a facility in the event of an accident, and determines the proper emergency responses. Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources commissioned the 2006 QRA at the behest of the nuclear plant that’s three miles from Cove Point. Using pro-industry data and a pro-industry company to conduct the actual study, alarming results still came to light — including that everybody living within 0.8 miles of the mostly dormant import terminal (around 1,000 people) faced the constant risk of being consumed in a flash fire at any point. What are the risks after a $3.8 billion, three-year-long construction project that adds a full-scale power plant, a liquefaction train, 410,000 gallons of propane stored on site, and many other dangerous factors? We don’t know.

Dominion has been allowed to get away with minimal safety testing that doesn’t look at the actual scope of the threats placed on the tens of thousands of people living around this terminal — and even that hasn’t been released publicly. Instead, information on potential peril facing this community is hidden behind non-disclosure agreements and back-room deals. Politicians who are too eager to take Dominion’s money at all costs have abandoned their constituents. It’s high time that the one person who can order a QRA safety study by simply commanding it, Governor Hogan, do so — and halt construction while the study is conducted to give it the time it needs.

Other Dominion facilities have seen fatal explosions, other fuel facilities in Southern Maryland have seen fatal explosions, and this exact facility had a fatal explosion in 1979. The lives and well-being of tens of thousands of people are worth more than the money Dominion is adding to the local coffers! We need Governor Hogan to order this safety study immediately!

We Are Cove Point is a Calvert County Organization working to stop the construction of Dominion Energy’s fracked gas export terminal.

“Thank you for helping to protect our community — and, by extension, all of the other communities affected by gas infrastructure that would help bring gas to Cove Point to be exported!” – We Are Cove Point

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