Activists made an impact on both sides of a tour of Dominion’s export terminal at Cove Point this morning, with a lockdown onto the tour bus as it tried to leave Washington, DC, and local residents greeting it with a large banner as it came into Cove Point, Maryland.
Kiewit, the lead contractor in the construction of Dominion’s $3,8 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal at Cove Point, scheduled a tour of the Cove Point facility as the closing activity of the North American Gas Forum in Washington, DC. The forum was sponsored by a spate of companies focused on LNG exports, and much of the agenda came back to exports again and again. It was a big deal for Kiewit to be able to show off what it hopes will be one of North America’s first LNG export terminals. However, it’s likely the people on the tour left with a different impression than what Kiewit wanted to give them.
In DC, an activist with We Are Cove Point and Beyond Extreme Energy locked himself to a pole inside a very fancy executive tour bus as gas industry professionals were boarding. Once the bus filled up, he told the bus driver what was going on and was told that the bus would leave with him on it. When the driver walked away, the activist moved into the driver’s seat and tried to lock to the steering wheel, but several people tackled him and dragged him off the bus and into a nearby hotel. At that point, he got away and locked to a side mirror of the bus. Eventually, police had to cut him out. He was not arrested, and the bus’ departure was delayed by about 45 minutes while the gas industry got a first-hand glimpse of what resistance to the Cove Point terminal has looked like for the past few years.
After the conference attendees arrived in Lusby, they were outfitted in matching hard hats and safety vests, given a safety spiel that assuredly talked more about bee stings than the worker who died from on-site injuries, and loaded onto a more pedestrian shuttle to visit the terminal site. As they traveled down Cove Point Road, they were greeted by local residents with a large banner that read, “Save our community! No gas exports in Lusby! We are Cove Point!” The residents, active with We Are Cove Point and Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community, held that banner and other signs for a couple hours along Cove Point Road, showing their opposition to the hundreds of Dominion and contractor vehicles driving by, and strengthening the resolve of passing residents.
These actions were done to show gas industry insiders from across the continent — many connected with other LNG export projects — that Dominion’s terminal at Cove Point is highly contentious and actively opposed. Dominion plans to dump 22.5 tons of pollutants into our community each year and put us at constant risk of a catastrophic explosion that could kill thousands. Exports from this facility is also driving the desire to build other gas projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline and a slew of compressor stations to feed gas to Cove Point — as well as create a demand for increased fracking. Dominion still has another year scheduled for construction at Cove Point, and the other projects are facing numerous delays in their permitting processes. We still have time to stop all of this before it’s built and operational!