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/
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