Chesapeake PSR

Governor Hogan's rejection of Cove Point safety study risks lives

Climate Change and EnergyLydia SullivanComment

In June, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan rejected calls to conduct a safety study of the Cove Point fracked gas export plant under construction in Lusby, Md. The governor's decision is unacceptable, placing tens of thousands of Maryland residents in harm's way from toxic pollutant emissions and potential explosions.

When built, Cove Point will be the first liquefied fracked gas export terminal on the East Coast and the first one in the world in such a densely populated area.

More than 84 groups  – including Chesapeake PSR  – signed a letter urging Governor Hogan to halt construction and perform a "thorough and transparent" independent Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) of the Dominion Energy liquefied gas facility. A QRA would study the health and safety risks ranging from explosions in a populated area (within three miles of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant) to exposure to toxic, carcinogenic chemicals such as benzene. Cove Point could emit 22.5 tons of pollutants into the air each year and cause increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

Explosions have occurred at gas plants in the U.S. and around the world. In April 2014, an explosion at a gas plant in Washington State required a two-mile evacuation zone. There is no buffer zone to protect residents in the Lusby neighborhoods adjacent to the plant. When liquefied gas leaks into the environment, it forms a highly flammable vapor cloud that can asphyxiate or, if ignited, create a flash fire or explosion. The result can be serious burns, traumatic injuries and death.

Cove Point could emit more than 3.3 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, making it the fourth highest polluter in Maryland. In addition, exporting natural gas will continue U.S. dependence on dirty fossil fuels, raise energy prices and endanger the well-being of Maryland residents. 

Human error and equipment failures occur. There is no fail-safe. It's time for Governor Hogan to take responsibility for the health and safety of the people living in and around Cove Point and conduct a safety study.

Sign We Are Cove Point's petition asking Governor Hogan for a safety study or call the governor's office at (410) 974-3901.

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