Calvert County Circuit Court Judge James Salmon handed down a decision that has significant implications for the proposed Cove Point LNG export terminal. Judge Salmon found a Calvert County law, passed specifically to clear the way for Dominion Cove Point’s export project, to be in violation of the Maryland Constitution.
The decision was the result of a legal challenge brought by the AMP Creeks Council. AMP Creeks filed suit to contest what it claimed was an attempt by Calvert County to illegally enact a “special law” to fast track Dominion’s pet project.
Judge Salmon ruled in AMP’s favor and specifically stated that “…Ordinance No. 46-13 is invalid for two independent reasons. First, the Ordinance violates the uniformity provision…of the Land Use article. Secondly, the Ordinance constitutes a “special law” that violates the provision of Article III, § 33 of the Maryland Constitution.”
In 2013, the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners and the Calvert Count Planning Commission enacted a text amendment exempting Dominion Cove Point’s LNG project from local zoning. This text amendment exempted Dominion Cove Point’s proposed LNG export facility from local permitting processes designed to protect and safeguard the community.
The AMP Creeks Council’s legal team is still sorting out the implications of this ruling. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been widely expected to grant Dominion final permits to proceed with the construction of their LNG export terminal.
This ruling may throw a wrench in those works. “This is a remarkable victory for the people of Lusby, Maryland, and folks fighting fracking and LNG exports throughout the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Kelly Canavan, President of The AMP Creeks Council.
This is one three current cases the AMP Creeks Council is pursuing in the matter of the Cove Point project. A related case against Calvert County over the denial of a Public Information Act request is pending, as is an appeal of a Maryland Public Service Commission decision.