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Gas plant project moving on time


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Lusby, MD - Maryland’s largest construction project has reached the halfway point of completion. The $3.8 billion project at Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant in Lusby began in late 2014. According to Dominion spokesman Karl Neddenien, the effort to build natural gas liquefaction and export facilities is “on schedule, on budget” and is on pace to reach completion by the end of 2017.

Neddenien said currently approximately 1,000 contractors are working on-site. An estimated 35 percent of the current workers are residents of the three Southern Maryland counties. The project will reach its peak in March when nearly 1,400 workers will be engaged on-site.

Wide-load transports and heavy hauls, which truck large components of the new facility from a barge docked at a temporary pier on the Patuxent River in Solomons to the plant off Cove Point Road in Lusby, are on-going. A notice regarding a wide-load transport planned for Tuesday, Jan. 19 stated the Maryland State Police would control traffic while escorting the material hauler from Route 2/4 to the Dominion Cove Point LNG terminal.

Dominion has touted the project as environmentally sound, stating the new facility “will have the smallest environmental footprint of its kind, preserving the 1,000-acre nature preserve surrounding Cove Point.”

Opponents of the project, however, claim the new facility will spew pollutants into the air and the natural gas will be obtained through a controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. The drilling for natural gas is expected to occur in the Marcellus shale, an area that includes Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, Eastern Ohio, a small portion of Virginia and most of West Virginia.

Currently, Maryland has a ban on fracking. The moratorium is due to expire in early 2018, about the same time the Cove Point project is expected to be completed.

Dominion officials have also promoted the projected economic benefits of converting the 40-year-old gas plant into an export facility. Once in operation, the new facility is expected to create 75 new permanent jobs at Cove Point. Calvert County is expected to receive an annual average of $40 million in additional tax revenue.

The latest protest against the Cove Point project will be aimed at one of the plan’s financial backers. According to the organization We Are Cove Point, a demonstration is planned for high noon Thursday, Jan. 21 outside a Bank of America location near the White House in Washington, DC.

“We delivered letters to bank managers from Connecticut to North Carolina on Dec. 16, 2015,” the We Are Cove Point missive stated. “We sent letters to Bank of America’s press officers, board and CEO—no response. This time we are going to make a lot of noise so they can hear us.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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