As MD PSC Deadline Looms, Letter Submitted to Commission Details Economic and Environmental Harms of Cove Point Site
April 1, 2014 – Just ahead of an April 2nd deadline for comments to be submitted to the Maryland Public Service Commission, 50 Maryland businesses – including Blue Moon Rising and Moon Shadow Cafe, Three Green Pears, and Financial West Group — are signaling their strong opposition to the plans for the highly controversial liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility at Cove Point on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
The signers of the joint letter speaking out against the facility are the business members of the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council and Green America’s Green Business Network.
The letter states: “We believe that Dominion’s proposed Cove Point project will not serve our state’s interests, whether in terms of economic benefits, environmental gains, or positive impacts on public health and welfare. This massive project will pollute our air and waterways and Maryland ratepayers may well experience increases in natural gas prices. Maryland needs to build on our renewable energy infrastructure which will promote our best economic future – and not invest in fossil fuel projects that are bad for the economy and that will only exacerbate the climate crisis.
* Climate change is exacerbated by greenhouse gases emitted throughout the fracking process, posing a number of challenges to businesses, particularly small businesses, such as supply chain disruptions, damage to infrastructure, and rising transportation costs. Maryland’s coastal communities will be heavily affected by climate change in particular.
* Fracking creates heavily industrialized landscapes, radically altering community character and crowding out economic drivers that are dependent on natural amenities, including tourism, agriculture, food and beverage, and recreation.
* Exporting gas at Cove Point would create a 549 percent increase in massive tanker traffic. It would also put thousands throughout the region at risk from expansions to existing pipeline infrastructure that already is prone to leaks and ruptures that can cause fires and explosions.
* The Cove Point export facility would negatively impact the state’s plan for a 25 percent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2020.
* Cove Point would steer resources to the fossil fuel economy and only produce 130 permanent jobs, whereas, for the same costs, the creation of offshore wind could result in 7,500 jobs.
* Business owners, including farmers, pay higher prices for scarce resources like water and labor because of increased competition from drillers.
* Fracking has greatly reduced or eliminated property values, and is making mortgages and insurance policies difficult to acquire.
* If the Cove Point project proceeds, it will encourage more companies to expand fracking across our region, including in Maryland, where currently no drilling occurs.
This proposal will benefit neither the Maryland public nor our economy –only the gas industry will profit. As businesspeople with a strong stake in the vibrancy of the Maryland economy and in our natural environment and resources, we strongly urge you to deny Dominion’s application for the Cove Point LNG export terminal and power plant.”
To see the full text of the letter go to http://www.greenamerica.org/pdf/2014-Cove-Point.pdf
Green America’s Policy Director Fran Teplitz said: “Given the toll that the Cove Point export facility will take on Maryland’s economy and environment we believe there is no way this mega-project can be considered to serve Maryland’s best interests. Maryland businesses with a commitment to sustainability recognize the need to support renewable energy that will have far greater benefits for our state.”
Elliott Perfetti, operations manager, Blue Moon Rising and Moon Shadow Café in McHenry, said: “This Cove Point project means a lot here in Garrett County; we are just finishing the construction of an eco-friendly vacation community and Cove Point would mean the frack attack would start here in Garrett County and surely it would negatively impact our mission as well as the existing tourism businesses of Garrett County’.”
Savitri Khalsa, owner, Three Green Pears in Silver Spring, said: “As a business leader and resident of Maryland, I oppose creating a fracked gas facility at Cove Point. I urge the Maryland Public Service Commission to consider all of the environmental damage inherent in this project. The Chesapeake Bay region is beautiful and fragile and not worth polluting for dirty energy.”
Richard W. Torgerson, registered principal, Financial West Group in Westminster, said: “Now is the time for Maryland to focus on development of our renewable energy infrastructure, not on fossil fuel projects that threaten human and environmental health. The success of our economic future will rely on clean energy, and that is the sector in which we must invest.”
Stephen Shaff, executive director, Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council, added: “This is not just a battle about Cove Point. If approved, this massive project will surely put pressure on Maryland to permit fracking and expand fracking in neighboring states and more reliance on unsustainable energy systems. At what point will we find the political will to stop decisions like Cove Point that mostly serve the interests of non-local industry at our economic and environmental expense?”
ABOUT THE GROUPS
Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council is a business-led educational and advocacy organization whose mission is to promote sustainable business viability, awareness, and impact within the Chesapeake region (MD, DC and VA). More at http://www.csbcouncil.org
Green America is a national membership organization that works to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Green America has a Green Business Network of 3,000 businesses screened for their social and environmental impacts. Green America has over 100 business members based in Maryland. More at www.GreenAmerica.org and at www.GreenBusinessNetwork.org