Dominion Midstream is building a new gas liquefaction train, gas-fired power plant and export terminal in Lusby, Maryland so they can sell fracked gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shales to Japan and India. This will be the first gas export terminal on the East Coast.
The permits to build this facility were granted without adequate public input or scrutiny. When people from the Cove Point community, a neighborhood in Lusby, learned about the facility in late 2013, they had a lot of questions. They wanted to know how the new facility would impact the beauty and tranquility of this beachfront community nestled between Calvert Cliffs and Solomon’s Island. They wanted to know how it would affect human health and the local wildlife. And most of all, they wanted to know if the facility posed a hazard.
Margaret Flowers with other We Are Cove Point! members
The problem was that nobody would answer their questions. The Calvert County Commissioners signed a broad nondisclosure agreement with Dominion that banned them from discussing any details. Week after week, members of the community attended the commissioners’ public meetings and asked questions, but the commissioners remained silent.
Video: Kayaktivists Paddle Against Dominion LNG Export Facility (interview with Dr. Flowers at 1:55)
Local residents formed a new group called Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community. They went to every public hearing and asked if the new facility would be safe, but they were ignored. They met with their elected representatives from the state to the federal levels and they met with representatives of agencies involved in the project. At every meeting they have had one simple question: Will you perform a Quantitative Risk Assessment to determine if this facility is safe? Their question has been answered with silence except by the Department of Natural Resources which said they will do the study if they are asked by an elected official. Who will step up?
The community believes, and I agree with them, that this facility, which is already under construction, is dangerous. Their research shows that this is the first facility of its kind to be placed in a densely-populated area. In addition to the 22 tons of toxins that it will emit into the air each year that cause cancers such as childhood leukemia and will worsen asthma and heart disease, the plant will house giant tanks of explosive chemicals that can catch on fire and explode. There are more than 2400 homes within a two mile radius with the closest homes directly across the street from the plant. It would not be possible to evacuate everyone safely if a catastrophic event occurred, and they have occurred at other similar facilities.
When I learned that the project in Cove Point was permitted, I joined with the community and allies to create a new group called We Are Cove Point. Through my research, I learned that Dominion has contributed to the campaigns of elected officials from the local sheriff to state officials to Congressman Steny Hoyer and to Senators Mikulski and Cardin. One can only suspect that these donations have bought their silence.
This is one of the reasons that my campaign will not accept donations from corporations or PACs. I will not allow a corporation to put its profits over the health and safety of a community. If I am elected, I will order the Quantitative Risk Assessment and I will continue to do all in my power to stop construction of this facility.
We Are Cove Point! "kayaktivists"