Cove Point Foes Plan Big Week

By Marty Madden, Baynet

As the opponents of a $3.8 billion project in Lusby see it, resistance is an option. A group that has dubbed itself “We Are Cove Point” has outlined a weekend schedule to ramp up its campaign to fight the transition of a local gas importation plant to one that exports liquefied natural gas (LNG) to foreign countries.

The group is also planning to confront newly inaugurated Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 21 during an early afternoon state house reception in Annapolis. The purpose for attending the reception is to let Hogan know they oppose hydraulic fracturing—pejoratively known as fracking—in Western Maryland. The new governor has previously indicated he supports implementation of the drilling method for extracting natural gas from the state’s portion of the Marcellus shale.

The Cove Point project was approved by federal and state officials last year. The three components of the plan—construction of an offsite pier in Solomons, an offsite staging area for workers and the liquefaction unit—have all gotten underway.

“Everything’s going on schedule,” said Dominion spokesman Karl Neddenien, who added the temporary pier is finished. The tract known as “Offsite Area A” is being readied as a site for parking, temporary office buildings and material staging. “It’s on schedule and doing very well,” said Neddenien, who confirmed crews are working on the site throughout the day.

The area inside the plant on Cove Point Road, known as “The Terminal Area” is undergoing excavation and preparation work. “It’s also moving along well,” said Neddenien.

The construction project is expected to take three years to complete.

Despite the work zone atmosphere in south Calvert related to the Dominion Cove Point project, the foes of the plan are also rolling up their sleeves and preparing to punch a time clock.

We Are Cove Point has announced it will be training resistance volunteers for a door-to-door canvass of the area surrounding the plant and is already raising money.

“We are excited to announce that we are making great progress in building the campaign,” the organization’s newsletter stated. An online effort has reportedly raised $9,000 to date with a goal of $50,000 “in order to pay an organizer, and cover materials and other expenses.” The group is also selling specially designed T-shirts to promote the campaign.

For Inauguration Day in Annapolis, protesters are being urged to park at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Rowe Boulevard and Taylor Avenue, either walk or ride a shuttle to School Street and meet at the Church Street intersection.

The participants are being urged to bring lightweight signs. The inauguration ceremony begins at noon. The state house reception is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. “Those interested can go through the line at let Governor Hogan know what we think about fracking in Maryland,” stated a post on the We Are Cove Point Facebook page.

According to Tracey Eno of Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community (CCHC), the weekend canvassing will be done as a way “to let people know there are people still fighting this. It’s not a done deal. A lot could happen in three years. We are still getting a lot of feedback from people who don’t understand this project.”

The canvassers will have citizen complaint forms that they will be distributing to residents living within eight tenths of a mile radius of the Cove Point plant. Those people, said Eno, are at risk should a flash fire occur at the plant.

Neddenien noted that project workers have had no major problems with protesters at any of the three work sites to date. When told of the opponents’ plans to visit homes in the plant vicinity this weekend, Neddenien stated, “I hope they stay safe as they walk along Cove Point Road.”

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