SPARROWS POINT, Md. - A seven-year fight over plans for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility at Sparrows Point ended this week after the energy company proposing the pipeline abandoned plans for the project.
Virginia-based AES Corporation has filed a motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission indicating it has decided to vacate its proposed facility and pipeline in Baltimore County. The news was welcomed by opponents of the plan, including community groups and elected officials who have raised concerns over the project’s safety and its potential negative impact on the environment.
“Today, LNG at Sparrows Point is officially dead in the water," U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger said in a statement. "While I remain concerned about our country's reliance on foreign energy sources, I have said from the very beginning that this was the wrong proposal at the wrong place and at the wrong time. It provided absolutely no benefit to the community in which it was to be built."
Ruppersberger said he contacted every agency involved in the approval process and urged them to deny the application, including FERC, the Army Corp of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard.
The battle over the proposed 88-mile pipeline, which would have stretched into Pennsylvania, has been going on since January 2006. Ruppersberger said he expressed concerns that LNG, a hazardous fuel that can explode when ignited, posed a significant security risk to nearby neighborhoods as well as motorists on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
In addition, the proposed site was less than two miles from homes in Dundalk, Turner's Station, and Edgemere and LNG tankers would have to travel beneath the Bay Bridge to reach the Sparrows Point facility. Moreover, Ruppersberger said, AES was unwilling to pay for new security procedures, leaving Maryland taxpayers to foot the bill even though the natural gas would be pumped out-of-state.
The proposal also left unanswered questions related to impacts on endangered and threatened species that live in environmentally-sensitive areas of the Chesapeake Bay.
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