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April 26, 2012

Sierra Club Denies Permission to Build Liquefied Natural Gas Export Terminal

PA drill site2webToday the Sierra Club again took a stand against dirty liquid natural gas exports because they are bad news for Americans' air, water and health.

We are denying Dominion the ability to convert their Cove Point, Maryland import facility to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). A long-standing agreement, negotiated by the Sierra Club's Maryland Chapter and its allies, provides that the facility may only be used for imports and may not be expanded.

We are not letting Dominion back out of our deal because transitioning the facility to allow for LNG exports would imperil sensitive coastal lands around Calvert Cliffs State Park. It would massively expand fracking pollution while producing and sending abroad billions of cubic feet of LNG. Additionally, it would raise gas and electricity bills.  Worse yet, there hasn’t been any public analysis or disclosure of these major problems.

"Liquefied natural gas is the dirtiest and most polluting form of gas," said David O'Leary, Chair of the Maryland Sierra Club. "It also requires an increase in fracking - which we know is unsafe. The Cove Point facility's expansion would've specifically meant increased fracking in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale. The industry is thinking only of their profits when pushing these export facilities. They're not thinking of the families who will bear the burden of increased fracking."

The Sierra Club is committed to fighting the Cove Point LNG export terminal and other facilities like it across the country. The Department of Energy needs to recognize that LNG exports are not in our country's best interests. LNG exports drive up the price of energy while sickening Americans with dirty, dangerous fracking.

Our country should be focusing on clean energy - not feeding our addiction to fossil fuels like natural gas. Investing in clean energy creates jobs while protecting public health.

Tell the White House to say no to LNG exports.

Background on the Cove Point facility:

In the 1970s, the Sierra Club and another local environmental group, the Maryland Conservation Council, took action to prevent the then-owner of the Cove Point site, Columbia Gas Corp., from clearing 800 acres of forest to build an LNG import facility at Cove Point, MD.  The parties ultimately struck a deal to strictly limit the footprint and usage of the Cove Point facility, preserving much of the land as coastal forest.  Although they have allowed some expansions over the years, the last version of the settlement, signed in 2005, makes clear that no further expansions or function changes of are allowed.

-- Deb Nardone, Director of the Beyond Natural Gas campaign

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