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Dominion officials face two Maryland meetings


Lusby, MD -
Two polarizing energy projects in Southern Maryland brought forth by Virginia-based Dominion Energy will be the subjects of two hearings this week.

Dominion officials reported the Eastern Market Access (EMA) project is designed “to help meet increasing demand for natural gas for two local customers—Washington Gas Light Company (WGL), a local gas utility serving Metro DC, Virginia and Maryland; and Mattawoman Energy LLC, for its new Mattawoman energy center, an electric power generation facility being built in Maryland.” Dominion officials stated “the project would include adding compression and supporting facilities along Dominion’s existing natural gas transmission pipeline. No new pipeline would be required. Plans call for a adding a new compressor station at Dominion’s existing facility in Charles County and increasing compression at an existing station in Loudon County, VA as well as additional work at its Fairfax County, VA facility. All of these stations would meet or exceed all federal, state and local regulations for noise and pollution control.”

A hearing on Dominion’s request for a special exception to add a compressor station in Charles County will be conducted by that jurisdiction’s Board of Appeals Tuesday evening, Nov. 14. The hearing will be held at the Charles County Government Building in La Plata starting at 7 p.m.

One of the affected landowners and registered intervener, Joshua Kauffman of Bryans Road, has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to deny Dominion a certificate for constructing the Charles Station unit until the company addresses concerns about pollution, noise and safety.

The Dominion Energy Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant’s Liquefaction project is nearing its completion. The Lusby plant would have the capability of exporting natural gas to foreign nations via tankers docking at its offshore pier in the Chesapeake Bay. Dominion had obtained the required permits from FERC and the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC). Back in August, Dominion Energy requested an amendment to the permit to control the liquefaction unit’s “fugitive emissions” solely through the Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) program rather than the numeric volatile organic compound limit.

During a well-attended Oct. 2 public hearing and a supplemental hearing held over two weeks later a majority of the speakers spoke out against the requested amendment. The public record on the matter is now closed. The PSC will consider Dominion Energy’s amendment request Wednesday morning, Nov. 15 at their regularly scheduled administrative meeting. That meeting will be held at PSC headquarters at 6 Paul Street in Baltimore beginning at 10 a.m.

Commission spokeswoman Tori Leonard told TheBayNet.com that the panel’s counsel “will give a synopsis of the case” and the parties involved will have an opportunity to answer questions. “It’s open to the public but it is not a public hearing,” said Leonard. She added that the PSC could render a decision on the requested amendment or possibly hold the issue and deliberate.

Although some project opponents are calling for the PSC to revoke the permit, Leonard indicated that is not up for consideration at the meeting. In a news release dated Monday, Nov. 13, the opposition group We Are Cove Point urged the PSC to do just that. “Dominion Energy is asking for significant changes to its original permit and we believe that the Maryland PSC should be revoking the permit,” We Are Cove Point officials stated. “Dominion Energy either lied to the Maryland PSC in 2014 or it is grossly incompetent in miscalculating the number of components that will leak pollutants by 1,000 percent.”

Dominion Energy officials contend that at the time its request for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) was filed, the best information available was used and the liquefaction unit’s operation will still be under the overall limit.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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