San Francisco: The US Department of Energy on Thursday announced that it had given approval for Dominion Resources to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its Cove Point plant in the state of Maryland, to non free-trade agreement (FTA) countries.
But environmentalist opponents of the move said they have not given up their fight against it, believing the LNG trade would increase pollution from fracking in the US.
The department’s OK means the plant is authorized to export the equivalent of 770 m cubic feet of natural gas per day for 20 years. And the company hopes to start shipping LNG in 2017 to countries with which the US does not have FTA deals.
Backers of the move support greater development of natural gas as a replacement for coal.
The approval comes soon after the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied opponents’ request for a redo of the approval hearing. In response on Thursday several environmental groups wasted no time filing a suit against FERC over its decision.
It charges that FERC failed to consider how Cove Point would lead to increased fracking for natural gas in the US and that increased numbers of foreign ships would be dumping dirty wastewater” into Chesapeake Bay.
The Cove Point plant is investing $3.8 billion in new infrastructure.
The DOE said it conducted “an extensive careful review” of Dominion’s applications and considered thoroughly the economic, energy security and environmental impacts.
Dominion Resources is a power and energy company with headquarters in Richmond, Virginia.