Environmental and community groups are crying foul on Thursday following the release of a federal assessment stating that a proposed liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminal will cause no environmental harm.
Dominion, the energy company that has proposed the LNG export project in Cove Point, Maryland, foresees exporting 770 million cubic feet per day of gas, which would likely include gas obtained through fracking.
According to a statement released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which wrote the Environmental Assessment (EA), "with appropriate mitigating measures," Cove Point "would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment."
Not so, say opponents of the project. Among the concerns they raise are that the EA doesn't take into consideration the greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the LNG terminal because more gas will be fracked, shipped and burned.
Rather than move forward, the opponents say, the project should the further scrutiny through a federal Environmental Impact Statement.
Among the chorus of voices criticizing the FERC EA was Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.
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"President Obama has told us many times that failure to address the climate crisis amounts to the betrayal of our children and future generations, so it would be inexcusable for FERC to allow the LNG export facility at Cove Point to start operating without a full environmental review," he said in a statement.
Brune emphasized the need to break free from the chains of fossil fuel addiction.
"We can’t cut climate pollution and simultaneously expand the use of dirty fossil fuels, so we must fully understand the consequences of liquefying fracked natural gas for export before we license new export facilities," he continued. "Building new fossil fuel infrastructure keeps America tied to the past. We should be exporting clean energy innovation, not the dirty fuels of the 19th century."
Opponents also object to the project's polluting impacts at land and sea.
"Today’s Environmental Assessment by FERC has failed to address the significant impacts of this LNG export facility — including the global warming pollution this project will cause, the potentially catastrophic threat to hundreds of nearby residents, the pollution of the Chesapeake Bay and risk to the critically endangered right whale, along with all the pollution associated with upstream fracking and fracked gas infrastructure," stated said Earthjustice Associate Attorney Jocelyn D’Ambrosio. "The agency needs to prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement — nothing less will suffice."
A public comment meeting on Cove Point will be held May 31.