Calvert County Residents Join with Allies to Oppose Dominion Cove Point LNG

Photo: John Zangas
Photo: John Zangas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resident of Lusby, Maryland Arrested Attempting to Deliver Petition at Pier Construction Site

November 10, 2014

Activists from across the country joined residents of Calvert County, Maryland at the Dominion Cove Point pier construction site to call on Virginia-based Dominion Resources to halt the project. Leslie Garcia, who lives in a neighborhood adjacent to the existing Cove Point facility in Lusby, Maryland, was arrested when she attempted to walk onto the site to deliver a call for the immediate and permanent cessation of construction to a Dominion representative. The remaining demonstrators, who numbered nearly fifty, maintained a picket line in front of the entrance to the site for two hours. The action was organized by Stopping Extraction and Exports Destruction (SEED), an umbrella group of mid-Atlantic activists fighting dirty energy projects.

Dominion is planning to build a $3.8 billion facility to bring nearly a billion cubic feet of gas per day from fracking wells across the Appalachian region, liquefy it on the Chesapeake Bay, and export it to Asia. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project on September 29. Critics of the project have raised concerns about the project’s potential environmental, health, and safety impacts at the local, national, and international levels.

Chief among local residents’ concerns is the fact that facility would be the first methane gas liquefaction plant ever built next to a densely populated residential neighborhood. As Garcia noted, “I live in Cove Point Beach. The only way out of my community, should there be an explosion at Dominion’s refinery, is to drive toward the disaster. I have nothing to lose by protesting, because we have everything to lose if this project continues.”

Other residents observed that the project has already had negative impacts on southern Maryland. The pier currently under construction, which would be used to bring in equipment too large to transport over land, is located about six miles south of the proposed export terminal. It is next to the base of the Thomas Johnson Bridge, where the Patuxent River flows into the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to concerns about the stability of the bridge and the danger of barges loaded with heavy equipment passing beneath it, construction of the pier requires the severe disturbance of oyster habitat in the river.

“This pier destroys the hundreds of species that exist on the oyster bar as an intimate web of inter-dependencies that took thousands of years to establish and work collectively to clean the Chesapeake Bay,” said science educator and Lusby resident Linda Morin. “This destruction of an ecosystem foreshadows the destruction to come with Dominion’s fracked gas refinery.”

Activists traveled from several other states, including Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, to demonstrate resistance to the project and show support for the residents fighting it. “I support communities that are fighting for life because all grievances are intertwined. We need to start taking stands with different communities in different parts of the country,” said Camila Ibañez from Utah Tar Sands Resistance.

Today’s protest occurred days after two major actions at the same site in which participants were arrested. On Monday, November 3, Kelly Canavan, president of AMP Creeks Council and an organizer with SEED, locked herself to a piece of construction equipment at the same site, delaying the start of the work day. She was extracted by members of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Department, arrested, and detained for several hours. On Tuesday, nine activists entered the site to demonstrate opposition as part of the Beyond Extreme Energy week of action. They were arrested, along with two photographers, and detained overnight.

For Twitter updates follow @SEED_Action, @FANG_Together, and #StopGasExports

Photos are available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/seedcoalition

Additional statements from Calvert County residents are available at https://seedcoalition.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/statements-on-dominion-cove-point-lng-by-calvert-county-residents/

Note: The photos on the SEED Coalition Flickr are, for the most part, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. We not sticklers for copyright (let the info flow!), but pictures are one of the ways we get our message out. We ask that you attribute our pictures to “SEED Coalition” for that purpose. (If they’re not ours, it will give the source in the caption. Same deal: please follow the terms of the license, which will usually be the same.) Otherwise, go wild.

 

Statements on Dominion Cove Point LNG by Calvert County Residents

This pier project illustrates Dominion’s disregard for all types of communities. The oysters are not the only species at stake here. Scientists have known about the diversity of life on oyster bars since at least 1878 (Mobius, 1878). This pier destroys an ecosystem. When the state built this PUBLIC pier, it was designed to AVOID this natural oyster bar (NOB) that watermen harvest to this day. You CANNOT make a natural oyster bar. Nor can you mitigate the damage done to one by tossing a few oysters onto proposed artificial reefs elsewhere. These proposed artificial reefs are nothing more than construction debris dumped in the Bay per Dominion’s agreement with DNR through FERC. This pier destroys the hundreds of species that exist on the oyster bar as an intimate web of inter-dependencies that took thousands of years to establish and work collectively to clean the Chesapeake Bay.

This destruction of an ecosystem foreshadows the destruction to come with Dominion’s fracked gas refinery, whose far reaching tentacles of frack wells, pipelines and compressor stations, will add billions of tons of greenhouse gases, hundreds of tons of hazardous and carcinogenic air pollutants and contaminate the water and soil that ALL living things rely upon for existence.

–Linda Morin, resident of Lusby, MD and middle-school science teacher

*****

We have lived in Calvert County over twelve years. Seven years ago, we bought a house a few streets from the Cove Point terminal. At that time, it was being used for occasional imports. We had no reason to think it would ever be otherwise.

We have two daughters, aged twelve and nine. We chose to make our home in Calvert County and selected our house to ensure that they could get outside and appreciate nature. We also wanted the beach access, which is hard to get in Lusby. We have lived here very happily for the past seven years. Our life has been exactly what we dreamed of. I feel this place is a real gem. I fear the export terminal is going to crush my dream I had for my family. I am afraid that my dream home is just going to be shattered.

I am concerned that the noise from the terminal will make life unbearable and drive away the wildlife that gives us so much joy. More than that, I’m terrified of what could happen. I am full of anxiety and stress for my family.  We’re in a blast zone. We’ll be instantly incinerated in the case of a blast.

The so-called ‘opportunities for input’ were a total waste of time. Dominion and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission just steamrolled over us. It felt like they were just humoring us. They have exerted their power and dominance over us. They can just come in and do whatever they want.

I don’t want to sell our home. We’ve worked so hard for it. We want our children to have the security of a home, a place they can come back to years from now. And even if we did try to sell it, who wants to live next to a natural gas export terminal? The price we could probably get for our house would be so low I don’t think we could even afford to move.

Already, at the three construction sites (the terminal and Offsite Areas A and B) they’ve brutalized the earth. Every time I see them I get a knot in my stomach, and I have to drive past all three of them every day. It just breaks my heart.

–Amber Tamburri, resident of Lusby

*****

I am present to protest the building of a fracked gas refinery in this county.  It will house 410,000 gallons of propane, 14.6 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas, 25,000 gallons of aqueous ammonia—all of which threaten the health, safety, and lives of residents. Air, ground, and water will be polluted with carcinogens and neurotoxins. This project has been given approval without a QRA [quantitative risk assessment]–!

I also must protest as a social worker–

Social work is a practice based profession and academic discipline that promotes social change, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people.  Thus, I am bound by our ethics to speak against the building of this refinery. Empowerment must include citizen participation and thorough assessment before any project that could effect the welfare and lives of citizens is built in a community.  In this case, no such assessment or participation has happened.

–Yvonne Micheli, resident of Calvert County, MD

*****

We must begin to separate the wheat from the chaff of what jobs we welcome into our community.  There is a point when our Commissioners, the gatekeepers, become the Judas of our stories, even if the dollars are earmarked for the poor.

If it will cost our county the same price as the Fukushima plant in Japan (who are now willing to put American lands at risk for their energy), it is a plan that should be fought tooth and nail.

–Brenda Songy, resident of Leonardtown, MD

 

 

Gas Export Foes Arrested at Cove Point Construction Site

Cetology

By Anne Meador

Eleven people, including two photographers, were arrested on November 4 at the Maryland construction site of a pier to service Cove Point LNG, a natural gas export facility.

Nine activists wearing blue jumpsuits and yellow hardhats scaled a massive dirt mound at the site. Three protestors were stopped by sheriff’s deputies, but six reached the summit and held a banner aloft saying, “WE > Dominion Profits”.

They sat down as they were approached by law enforcement officers, who then cuffed them. The officers led some down the dirt hill but carried others.

The nine protestors were charged with trespassing and failure to obey. The two photographers were charged with trespassing. All were held in jail overnight.

“I see the huge risks that [Cove Point] poses,” said Dr. Margaret Flowers, a protestor who climbed the hill. “The risks to the surrounding community are huge, and that alone is…

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ACTION: Stop Fracked Gas Exports in Maryland!

Take action against the construction of the Cove Point LNG export facility!

Where: Dominion Cove Point LNG Offsite Area B, Solomons, Maryland

When: 6:00 a.m. on November 10, 2014

SEED (Stopping Extraction and Exports Destruction), an umbrella group of mid-Atlantic activists fighting energy extraction and exports, is calling on everybody who opposes the construction of the Cove Point LNG export facility to join us for a peaceful rally and sit-in against Dominion Energy’s construction of a giant pier, an important first step in the process of constructing the liquid natural gas (LNG) export facility at Cove Point in Lusby, Maryland. This pier will provide a means for Dominion to receive shipments by barge that are too large to transport via land, such as oversized construction equipment.

Where: Solomons, Maryland, “Offsite Area B,” a parcel of land directly east of the boat landing on the Calvert side of the Thomas Johnson bridge that connects Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties. Parking is available at the boat landing, along the streets on Solomons Island and in other parking lots nearby.

There are three ways that people can participate in the action: Group 1 will hold signs and chant, cheering people on in a vibrant display of resistance without any intention of risking arrest. Group 1 will stay on public land that is deemed OK for supporters and onlookers to stand on without harassment from the police or other law enforcement. Group 2 will join with the sit-in until they are given a warning of arrest by the police, at which point they will join Group 1. Group 3 will participate in the sit-in and remain until they are arrested or the action ends.

SEED will be hosting a legal and know-your-rights training during the week of November 3 for anyone who wants to attend (more details to come). Jail support will be provided. However, each participant will be responsible for covering their own subsequent court or bail costs, should there be any.

Please share this call to action with your friends and networks. The more people who participate in this action, no matter which group they decide to join, the more successful it will be! We hope to see you bright and early on November 10!

Need help getting there? Email us at contactseed[at]riseup.net and we’ll do our best!

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1553325824880200/

Activist Halts Construction of Cove Point LNG Export Terminal

Peaceful Protest Highlights Officials’ Disregard of Natural Gas Export Terminal Risks

November 3, 2014

In a show of opposition to the recent federal approval of Dominion’s Cove Point natural gas export terminal on the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland mother Kelly Canavan has locked herself to a piece of equipment at a construction site in Solomons integral to the project. Canavan is the president of AMP Creeks Council, a small nonprofit organization that focuses on land use and zoning policy. She is also part of Stopping Extraction and Exports Destruction (SEED), an umbrella group of mid-Atlantic activists fighting energy extraction and exports.

“The AMP Creeks Council has been opposing this project through several lawsuits for about a year,” Canavan said. “Now that FERC is poised to preempt any further victories we might be awarded in Calvert County, and Maryland officials at every level continue to support Dominion instead of residents, we are forced to take this stand. This is a peaceful protest to call attention to the carelessness and injustice that have characterized the course of this project from the beginning.”

Virginia-based Dominion Resources plans to build a $3.8 billion facility that would bring nearly a billion cubic feet of gas per day from fracking wells across the Appalachian region, liquefy it on the Chesapeake Bay, and export it to Asia. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project on September 29. Opportunities for public input have been limited and inadequate, and neither the agency nor Dominion has addressed several major environmental, health, and safety concerns.

The Solomons site is about seven miles south of the site of the proposed terminal. Dominion is currently constructing a pier to bring in equipment too large to transport over land. The site is located next to a public boat launch and fishing pier at the base of the Thomas Johnson Bridge, the only route across the Patuxent River between Calvert County and St. Mary’s County, Maryland. The structural soundness of the bridge has been in doubt since cracks appeared in its foundation in 1988. In addition, construction of the pier requires the severe disturbance of oyster habitat in the river.

“The destruction of this prominent area in the Solomons community is tangible proof of the determination of both Dominion and Maryland politicians to steamroll residents’ rights.” Canavan said. “Despite the power of the Federal government in this case, state and local officials still have an important role to play in protecting residents. Instead of joining with them to demand answers from Dominion and FERC, these officials have bent over backward to ease Dominion’s path.”

Under the Natural Gas Act, the Federal government has the ultimate authority in decisions over the siting and construction of natural gas infrastructure, including interstate pipelines, compressor stations, storage facilities, and export terminals. With the recent rapid expansion of domestic gas production through the dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing, energy companies are proposing new projects at an unprecedented rate. FERC has approved the vast majority of those projects, while failing to consider the cumulative harm they will cause to health, the economy, and the climate.

Canavan’s action coincides with the Beyond Extreme Energy initiative, a week-long series of actions in Washington, D.C. and nearby to demand greater responsiveness, transparency, and accountability from FERC and other federal agencies. For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/site/beyondextremeenergy/.

8:05 a.m. Kelly has been extracted and taken to jail. Her support team were all cited for trespassing and allowed to leave.

9:15 a.m. Kelly is facing ten misdemeanor charges of trespassing. We are awaiting further news.

4:25 p.m. Kelly is still being held at the Calvert County detention center, awaiting a hearing.

4:50 p.m. Kelly has had her hearing and is being released on her own recognizance!

For Twitter updates follow @SEED_Coalition and #FERCIsNotTheBossOfMe

Pictures available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seedcoalition

Activists Shut Down Fracking Industry Coalition’s Office

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Chesapeake Earth First! Stops Business As Usual at America’s Natural Gas Alliance

August 20, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — In a strong statement of opposition, two activists locked their necks to the front doors of the building that hosts the offices of America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) while a crowd of supporters held signs around them. This action was taken by Chesapeake Earth First! as part of the Rise Together mobilization, a series of actions and events against extreme energy perpetrators from August 16-24.

The activists locked to the doors wore shirts saying “DC says no to LNG exports” and “Maryland says no to LNG exports,” representing the places they live and their opposition to the Cove Point liquid natural gas (LNG) export facility and liquefaction plant proposed to be built by Dominion Energy in Southern Maryland. ANGA is a strong supporter of the project. One of ANGA’s members, Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation, signed a 20-year agreement to supply the Cove Point facility with fracked gas from across the northeastern US.

“ANGA is the problem, smoothing the way for the gas industry to run ramshod over the health and well-being of the rest of us,” said Donny Williams, one of the activists blocking the doors. “Fracking cannot be performed without the toxic mix of chemicals it uses eventually finding their way to the water table. Our politicians and decision-makers know this, but ANGA exists to help them turn a blind eye.”

“The proposed Cove Point project would be destructive to the entire region, from Cove Point itself in Calvert County, through the compressor stations that would feed it, and all the way through to the Marcellus Shale that would be fracked more heavily once the price of natural gas rises due to exports,” added Jesse Schulz, the other Chesapeake EF! activist attached to ANGA’s doors.

Chesapeake Earth First! is a local faction of a global no-compromise environmental movement. Working throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, Chesapeake Earth First! has been primarily focusing on stopping natural gas and coal exports from the mid-Atlantic. Increasingly, exports are the component that is funding horrendous energy extraction practices like mountaintop removal coal mining and widespread fracking.

More than 30 groups from around the US and the world are involved in the Rise Together mobilization. Halfway through its time period, Rise Together events have included blocking coal trains in the Northern Rockies, conducting a sit-in in a US congressman’s office in Rhode Island and holding a camp in Pennsylvania to teach skills to better organize against fracking where it happens.

For more information, visit http://www.risetogether.us

A new coalition and a new site

Welcome to the new site for Stopping Extraction and Exports Destruction (SEED). We are an umbrella group of mid-Atlantic activists fighting energy extraction and exports.

Until recently, we posted information about our activities on the Energy Exports Action Camp site. You can see the old posts here: https://energyexportsactioncamp.wordpress.com/. In the past few months, we have done some actions under the SEED name, so we’re re-posting the information about them here.

Feel free to contact us as contactseed[at] riseup.net. We’d like to hear from you!