Late Monday the Federal Energy Regulatrory Commission (FERC) approved the controversial Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Maryland. The Sierra Club and a large coalition of groups -- including Earthjustice, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Patuxent Riverkeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, and Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper -- have been fighting this plan since its announcement because it means a massive expansion of natural gas fracking.
More than 40,000 people submitted comments opposing Cove Point.
"FERC's decision to allow LNG exports from Cove Point is fundamentally flawed because the agency failed to consider the simple fact that exporting LNG will mean more drilling and fracking, and that means more climate pollution, more risk of contaminated groundwater, and more threats to the health of people who live near gas wells," said Deb Nardone, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Natural Gas campaign. "FERC should be standing up for the public good, not the interests of dirty polluters."
Once in full operation, Cove Point will also emit thousands of tons of dangerous air pollutants and millions of tons of greenhouse gases that will only add to increased climate disruption.
Beyond the increased fracking, the super-cooling process that turns fossil fuel vapor into LNG requires an immense amount of energy -- so much energy, in fact, that the LNG lifecycle is as dirty as coal. The industry wants to build enormous shipping terminals that would pave over fields, fill wetlands, and destroy estuaries.
As Deb noted about this Cove Point approval, FERC continues to bury its head in the sand and conclude that it is impossible to predict the effects related to the production of gas to be exported, or consumption of that gas once it is exported. This is despite the fact that even the Department of Energy agrees that if exports occur, they will induce additional gas production.
The Sierra Club and the coalition against Cove Point also believe that FERC has failed to procide for adequate public participation regarding this project. FERC must develop a full environmental impact statement that covers the entire effect of the project.
Some in Maryland are already planning a rally in response to the bad decision (6pm Tuesday, Sept 30, at 701 E. Pratt Street in Baltimore).
Stay tuned for more news on how we'll fight this decision. And stay involved - Cove Point isn't the only planned LNG export facility in the U.S.
-- Heather Moyer, Sierra Club