Sierra Club makes case against LNG

BROWNSVILLE — A liquefied natural gas facility has existed in Lusby, Maryland, on Chesapeake Bay since the early 1970s, though only as an LNG import and storage terminal.

Dominion, the energy giant that acquired the facility in 2003, is in the process of converting it into an LNG export terminal in response to a massive surplus of U.S natural gas in recent years created by fracking.

Stefanie Herweck of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club visited Lusby recently and delivered a presentation on her experience to a well-attended gathering of LNG opponents last night.

Herweck said the experience of residents of Lusby contains lessons for what Valley residents could face if LNG export terminals are built at the Port of Brownsville.

Three companies, Annova LNG, Rio Grande LNG and Texas LNG, have announced plans to develop facilities at the port. Those plans are being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which must approve the projects before they can move forward.

One of the lessons from Cove Point, however, is that FERC won’t necessarily deny a permit even if a project negatively affects the surrounding community, Herweck said. Although remote siting is the industry standard, FERC approved construction of Dominion’s export terminal in an area with nearly 2,500 residential homes within the two-mile radius hazard/evacuation zone, she said.

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