Thousands of people shouldn’t face an unknown amount of risk by the fracked gas export terminal at the edge of their neighborhoods!
[UPDATE: More organizations have signed on since the letter was sent on August 4. There are now 84 signatories calling on Governor Hogan to order the QRA!]
LUSBY, MD — A letter was sent by 84 organizations to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, issuing a firm request for the governor to halt construction and order a quantitative risk assessment (QRA) for the fracked gas export terminal Dominion is building in the community of Cove Point. Co-signers ranged from large national nonprofits to small community groups, with focuses on the environment, public health, water quality and justice issues. Notably, signatories included the Cedarville Band of the Piscataway Indians, representing the people whose land this has been for many thousands of years. The letter was sponsored by We Are Cove Point and Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community.
A QRA is designed to take a comprehensive look at what could go wrong with a facility’s infrastructure and come up with appropriate emergency response plans. At this point, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has allowed Dominion to use outdated guidelines and perform only minimal risk analysis. Current guidelines require a QRA, and Governor Hogan has the power to order one. With this facility undergoing a redesign that dramatically increases the amount of dangerous onsite materials and opportunities for catastrophic failures, right on the edge of a residential area of more than 20,000 people, it is imperative a full and transparent QRA is conducted immediately.
“Since when does the largest construction project in the state of Maryland not merit a QRA?” asked Calvert County resident Cindy Peil.
“The international gas industry itself has stated facilities like this should not be built near populations,” added Lusby resident Yvonne Micheli, siting statements made by the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators, an organization to which Dominion Cove Point belongs.
“Here in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, we have close to 10,000 people and four schools in the evacuation zone of the three fracked gas export terminals we’re fighting,” said Rebekah Hinojosa, Conservation Organizer for the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “It’s important that communities fighting LNG export terminals stand together. We are excited to be part of a nation-wide movement, standing with Cove Point to get a better understanding of what the risks really are.”
It is beyond irresponsible for a fracked gas export terminal, liquefaction train and full-scale power plant — with all of the associated storage and emissions of chemicals, fluids and other materials — to be built in a neighborhood at all, much less without full knowledge of the risks. The last QRA, conducted in 2006 when the gas facility at Cove Point was a much-less-impactful and mostly dormant import terminal, found that anyone within 0.8 miles (more than 1,000 people) was at risk of being consumed in a flash fire. We don’t know how many people are threatened by this new project.
These 84 organizations understand the need for transparent and responsible governance that prioritizes public safety above private profits. The ball is now in Governor Hogan’s court to do the right thing and order a QRA.
Look below the letter (download the PDF here) for links to websites for each of the organizations.
Chesapeake Earth First!
New York Climate Action Group