Friday, December 18, 2009

FERC Reaffirms AES Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reaffirmed their earlier decision to allow Virginia-based AES corporation to proceed with a proposed liquid natural gas terminal at Sparrows Point in eastern Baltimore County and an 88-mile pipeline through Maryland and Pennsylvania. FERC also denied requests from opponents of the project for additional environmental studies. The commission initially approved the $400 million project in January, despite vigorous opposition from state, county and federal officials as well as several community groups in both states. Although the Center does not have a position on the facility, and has testified at FERC hearings about our position, we are appalled by AES' dealings with the local community of Turner Station.

Virginia-based AES plans to construct the terminal on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel site and Sparrows Point shipyard [now Russian owned], and run a pipeline from there to Chester County, Pennsylvania. Large tankers would transport the gas from overseas up the Chesapeake Bay to the terminal.

The commission voted 3-1 Thursday, with Chairman Jon Wellinghoff dissenting, to reaffirm its Jan. 15 authorization. Wellinghoff also voted against the project in January, saying AES failed to demonstrate the need for the project and had not adequately addressed adverse impacts on the environment. AES must still fulfill nearly 170 conditions, many of them related to environmental and safety issues, before it can break ground. Neither the EPA nor the Maryland Department of the Environment has granted AES the permits necessary for the terminal to proceed. (Balt Sun, 12/18/09)

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