May 15

May 17 – Hearing for Dominion dumping in Cove Point’s wetlands

Dominion wants to renew permits to dump 45,000 gallons every day into a tributary of Grays Creek, the primary body of water in Calvert Cliffs State Park. Not only would this impact Grays Creek and ecosystems in Calvert Cliffs, but it would enter the Chesapeake Bay right at one of the busiest beaches in our county, leading locals and tourists to swim in Dominion’s pollution during their summer beach trips.

This water would be a mixture of wastewater from the regasification process at its under-construction export terminal and runoff from the facility. Mud from the export terminal has caused problems for drivers along Cove Point Road, creating a cement-like residue on vehicles from whatever substances it contains. We certainly don’t want this getting in our waterways!

Maryland Department of the Environment will be holding a hearing on this permit at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, at the Prince Frederick Branch of the Calvert County Library, 850 Costley Way, Prince Frederick.

More information from MDE can be obtained from Michael Richardson, chief of its Industrial and General Permits Division. He can be reached at (410) 537-3654.

View the actual permit here: DCP discharge permit

Please come out to this to tell MDE we don’t want Dominion polluting our water, our state parks, or our beaches!

And please invite anyone you think may be interested! There is a Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/153504571849116/.

UPDATE (May 16, 2017): MDE is calling this an “informational meeting.” The word choice is potentially significant. A public hearing, like the one MDE held just a few weeks ago to pave the way to turn Offsite A into a new Cove Point Park, includes testimony from the public that would then be considered as MDE makes a decision about whether or not to issue the permit.

In contrast, an “informational meeting” could just be an event where people can ask questions about the permit and its impacts, but not have the ability to testify in an official way.

Regardless, we’re continuing to encourage everyone to come to this. It’s important to engage with decision-makers to protect our environment and our health — especially when it looks like they’re considering doing otherwise. If this does turn out to be an event that limits public participation, we will have options ready for people to voice their concerns through other channels. Our voices can and should count more than that of a moneyed corporation.

LATEST UPDATE (May 16, 2017): After talking directly with the project manager for this permit, this event tomorrow night will be an “informational meeting,” rather than a public hearing. She said a public hearing would likely come in August or later, after the permit document is drafted and ready for review.

It’s quite important for people to come to this event, because this will likely be the main chance for MDE to hear from the public — even informally — before it drafts the permit that would later be reviewed and subject to a public hearing. It’s important to register our concerns now in the early stages of this process. Dominion is undoubtedly having direct interactions with the MDE decision-makers, and this is an opportunity for us to do the same!

This will be in a meeting format, rather than an open house, so be sure to show up by 6. See you there!