PSC Holds Public Hearing on Dominion Cove Point at Patuxent High

March 3, 2014

PSC Hearing 4The Public Service Commission (PSC) held a public hearing on Saturday March 1, 2014 at Patuxent High School tp receive public comments. This hearing was in reference to permit number 93-18. The high school auditorium was packed with citizens. The PSC explained that prior to any action, they wanted to hear from the governing body of Calvert County, the effect on economic, historic, air and water quality, disposal ofwaste, , Federal and State regulations, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) on laws and standards, and licensing conditions. They said the record would be left open for public comments.

PSC Hearing 3The Dominion Cove Point LNG export project received overwhelming support at the public hearing, with approximately 80% of the estimated 750 people in attendance indicating they back the project. The supporters wore “Yes” hats and t-shirts or “Yes” Cove Point stickers with those that opposed it wore red. Over 120 speakers signed up and each was to hold teir comments to 5 minutes, but from the first speaker the rule was not adhered to and the crowd became unruly, shouting over the speakers. The PSC said that they would like to hear the rest of the speaker’s comments and asked the crowd to let the speaker be heard.

Among those who spoke in favor of the project was Commissioner Jerry Clark, representing Calvert’s 1st District. Commissioner Clark told the audience that the project was a boon to the local economy, and that the economy has been stagnant for awhile. The taxes will help to continue to provide the services that the residents want, everything from good schools to amenities such as the parks.

PSC Hearing 1Sheriff Evans said that it might seem odd that a law enforcement officer would be commenting on something technical like CPCN but he has had a lot of experience working with plant personnel on public safety issues and thought that the experience offered unique insights into how Dominion approaches Calvert County. Calvert County Sheriff’s Office has had  officers assigned to the site for several years now and Dominion pays for their time.

“For years, local law enforcement and emergency responders have worked with Dominion and state and federal agencies to help ensure the safe and secure operation of the plant”, said Sheriff Evans. “Based on that experience, and based on Dominion’s history of environmental protection and stewardship, the seriousness with which Dominion approaches safety and security, and the close working relationship we have with this outstanding corporate citizen, I encourage the Public Service Commission to approve Dominion’s request for a CPCN”.

Mary Shultz, a 30-year resident of the county who described herself as mother, grandmother and business owner. She talked about the importance of good jobs and how the economic benefits will extend to many local businesses.

Roberta Baker, a 44-year resident and fire department volunteer. She said safety is paramount in her fire training and public safety is the top priority in new projects. Baker said Dominion Cove Point has an extensive track record and the proven safety record of LNG shows the project does not pose a threat to the community..

Mark Coles from DC/Maryland Building Trades Council, who talked about the adverse economic impact of the recession on his members. He cited the economic benefits of project and how members of his union make a career out of so called “temporary construction jobs.”

The opposition got their chance to proffer their comments on the project. One of the speakers said the project would affect the air and water quality with pollutants from the plant. Another said that the residents living closest to the plant need to have their technical safety questions answered in a transparent manner. Our commissioners are not facilitating that for us. If there is any possibility our families are at risk from a mishap – we at least deserve to know what that risk is and the probability of occurrence, so we can make decisions for our family. That is all we are asking. That is the least we should expect from our community.

Another speaker questioned Calvert’s volunteer fire and ems saying, asking are they prepared to handle anything bigger than a stubbed toe when it comes to Cove Point LNG expansion and if something happens will they be willing to run into it or be worried about getting their families out. Several others in their opposition, talked on subjects that did not pertain to the LNG Plant at Cove Point and had not done their homework.

PSC Hearing 2The project got another bit of good news when the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it was satisfied with Dominion’s LNG export project application. This is one more step needed in the FERC’s review of the project.

Dominion still needs about 50 permits and approvals before it can begin construction at Cove Point, including approvals from the FERC and the Maryland PSC. The FERC has been reviewing the project since June 2012 and the Maryland PSC since April 1, 2013. Dominion has held about 50 meetings in Calvert County with neighbors and residents to answer their questions.

Paulette Hammond, president of the Maryland Conservation Council, said that after a thorough review of the record that it has no objection to the Cove Point export project. The MCC, the Sierra Club and Dominion are responsible for the 800 acre conservation easement that surrounds the Cove Point LNG Terminal.

“This is a great turnout of our neighbors, business leaders and union workers for our project. My hat’s off to them. The Public Service Commissioners certainly heard the strong support that this project has,” said Michael Frederick, Vice President-LNG Operation at the Dominion Cove Point LNG Terminal.

Margit Miller / Staff Writer / Editor

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24 Responses to PSC Holds Public Hearing on Dominion Cove Point at Patuxent High

  1. Dave on March 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    This article is not accurate!! Yes, the Union had a big presence on Saturday however the majority of the people who spoke were against the project and speaking with a couple Union members they were only there because they had to be. There, is no way 80% of the people on Saturday were in favor of Cove Point. Plus, it’s funny your article does not mention one name of a person who was against the project, how is that possible? I sat at this meeting for over 6 hours and I cannot believe how this story is written!! Dominion Cove Point got off easy with this article.

    • ANONYMOUS3 on March 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      I was their and the Article is Correct….get over it powder puff

      • eileen hadley on March 3, 2014 at 10:06 pm

        This article ranks among the worst examples of journalism I have come across. I spoke against The CPJNG liquefaction plant and so did the majority of speakers . I left at 6:19pm and my count is that the majority of speakers were against the project. How did you get this so wrong?

      • For Real on March 4, 2014 at 8:03 am

        You have a distorted version of reality if you were there and think this article is in any way correct. The people there spoke and it was a huge, passionate outcry against Dominion Cove Point! And we have witnesses who gave verbal and written testimony to the PSC to prove it. Your side lost so you get over it!

        • Clare on March 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

          Why? They will get massive profits off this project and are only touting 1700-3000 TEMPORARY jobs and discounted tax revenue. They will leave Calvert County scarred for life with noise air and ground pollution. Lowered home values. An industrialized wasteland next to our park and amongst our homes. We don’t want benzene mercury and methane and risks of spills and accidents threatening the health and lives of our children.

    • Seriously? on March 5, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Take a look at how another journalist ACCURATELY reported the event, including details like the number of speakers, the percent of speakers who oppose (68%)and the NAMES of speakers. When you attend an event, you can write intelligently and fairly about it. Calvert Recorder reporter Amanda Scott was present for the whole hearing. I know because I sat across the aisle from her.

  2. For Real on March 3, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    I’m sure the blue “Yes” hats and shirts were paid for by Dominion!

    • ANONYMOUS3 on March 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Go hug a tree or two. loser!

      • For Real on March 4, 2014 at 7:57 am

        Gladly I do! :) Clearly if you have to revert to personal attacks then I guess you don’t have any legitimate answers as to why this project is needed!

    • UNION MAN on March 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      You are wrong. The shirts and hats were purchased from Image Pointe by IBEW Local 26.

  3. jimmy on March 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    I’m not paid by them but I support them 100%

    • Jason Gould on March 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      Then you need to do your homework…..or due diligence if you can’t see the harmful effects this project will cause in Calvert Cty on ALL levels that is if you even live in Calvert Cty which I suspect both you and “ANONYMOUS3 ” do not.

  4. Minh on March 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Did this reporter attend a different public hearing? I was present for 4 1/2 hours and there’s no question that the number of public speakers who were against the project far outnumbered those in support of it.

  5. Seriously? on March 3, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    The hearing ended at 6:36 pm and the majority of speakers were OPPOSED to the project. Perhaps the author was not present at the hearing. The photos tell the story. In pic #1, you will see the majority of attendees in red. With the exception of the foreground where it is primarily blue, and many empty seats. Many union members weren’t able to stay for the whole event. The other 3 pics are our Republican commissioners and their union brothers. Not at all slanted. I am curious how Jerry and Mike were the first speakers as they did not sign up to speak. Interesting how things work.

  6. Jason Gould on March 3, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    I also attended this meeting until 645 in the evening.there were over 85 speakers and I believe three quarters of them were AGAINST this expansion project.all the Union guys with the yes navy blue caps don’t seem to realize that after they finish their jobs after 3 years they go home to whatever state they came from leaving us the Calvert Cty residents with all the environmental and health detriments forever.So do you think that is fair??? We need an EIS!!!!! We don’t want another Blue Racer Natrium WVA fire & explosion….and BTW I was in Local 3 IBEW for 10 years!

    • UNION MAN on March 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Mr. Gould I left a reply to Mr. Nichols that 1000 of us Union members call Calvert County home. I ran your name Jason Gould and Charles Nichols through the Calvert residency data base and it came up empty.

  7. Lisa Cornell on March 3, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    OMG…is this writer serious? Dominion must be paying you for public relation work or paying for full page ads like their 7 Bogus Reasons why this project is so right for Calvert Cty.

  8. Charles Nichols on March 4, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I attended the meeting until 630 and counted 85 speakers of whom at least 70 percent were against this project! These union workers need to realize that when they are done with their jobs and go home to wherever they came from they will leave Calvert County and its residents with all the environmental and health detriments forever. Do you think that is fair? We also don’t want another Blue Racer Natrium West Virginia explosion and fire. I was also in the Local 3 IBEW for 3 years.

    • UNION MAN on March 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Mr. Nichols and Mr. Gould I contacted Local 3 and they have no record of your membership.

  9. anonymous on March 4, 2014 at 4:06 am

    I too was there until 6:30. What a disservice to the voice of journalism! This is not an even handed observation and report of events, rather a one-sided opinion. Not one single opposing voice was precisely presented nor any mention that the union was imported. When asked, one young man behind me pleasantly said he was from Pennsylvania. One observation overlooked were the number of union guys playing video games on their smart phones during the hearing! Who did not do their homework? Please, don’t pretend to be a journalist.

    • Charles Nichols on March 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Also these union ‘men’ left empty water and soda plastic bottles & other garbage under their seats. So is this how they will leave Calvert County when they go back home?????

      • UNION MAN on March 5, 2014 at 12:54 pm

        Mr. Nichols close to 1000 of us Union members call Calvert County home. IBEW Local 26 has 458 here.

  10. Clare on March 4, 2014 at 10:39 am

    The photos tell the story. A sea of red wearing residents OPPOSED to the the addition of the 130 mega watt power plant and dangerous liquefaction facility. Though the union members who only stayed the first hour were louder than the local residents in shouting over speakers. Booing concerned retirees and local mothers. Heckling locals with genuine concerns. Not very Calvert County at all. The croud was overwhelming AGAINST Dominion.

  11. Tom on March 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    This article is a pitiful misrepresentation of what happened last Saturday. I, too, was there for about 5 hours and the overwhelming voices that spoke out were AGAINST the facility expansion. The very few that DID support were simply pro-union (not a bad thing, in my opinion), but some were beyond insulting — one union boss that spoke told the PSC that they shouldn’t listen to the ‘little’ people that live here! Nice! Those guys did not do any favors for the Unions that day!