Baltimore County Digest

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIGEST

February 28, 2007

Company criticizes Sparrows Point bills

with the company proposing to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on Sparrows Point criticized measures under consideration by state legislators during a hearing yesterday in Annapolis, while opponents of the project urged lawmakers to pass the legislation to protect residents and the Chesapeake Bay.

One measure before the Senate Finance Committee would require a company wanting to build an LNG terminal to pay for extra government services, such as emergency response. The other is aimed at stopping dredging by private companies in the Patapsco River near Sparrows Point, where the company wants to build the LNG plant.

The bill also would require a company seeking to build an LNG terminal to have a 50-year, $10 million security bond.

"I call them the `Save southeastern Baltimore County' bills," said Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr., a Dundalk Democrat and main sponsor of the bills. "This particular area has been subject to abuse for many years."

The proposed bond would "probably not be enough" to cover the loss in lives, homes and businesses if there were an accident or attack at the proposed facility, Stone said.

More than a dozen supporters and opponents of two bills testified at the hearing, including top officials from AES Corp., which filed an application with federal regulators last month to build a terminal and processing plant at the former Bethlehem Steel shipyard, and construct an 87-mile pipeline to southern Pennsylvania where the processed gas could be distributed.

AES also is seeking permission to dredge a 117-acre area near the shipyard to accommodate tankers transporting the fuel.

"The dredging we're proposing is actually cleaning up the area," Kent Morton, Sparrows Point project manager for AES, told the legislators.

He and other company officials said the bond proposed is "not available" to companies and said that federal regulators already require "cost-sharing" with local governments.

Sharon Beazley, head of the Greater Dundalk Alliance's LNG opposition team and co-chair of a state task force that recently studied the proposal, said the community fears the dredging would cause environmental problems in the bay.

"Our community is overwhelmed by ill-conceived waste management, energy and industrial proposals," she said. "Our people deserve environmental justice."

Laura Barnhardt

Pikesville

Library to have limited resources

The Pikesville Library will operate as a "mini-library" with limited materials and services for the next several months as work is completed on a $4.2 million renovation and expansion of the facility.

Until construction is completed this summer, the library will offer only newly published materials and have half as many public-access computers as usual. There will be no study tables, photocopier, public restrooms or water fountain available, and signs will direct customers to a temporary entrance.

Because the library will be unable to provide all materials needed for school projects, county library officials are encouraging customers to visit branches in Randallstown, Reisterstown, Cockeysville and Towson.

The Pikesville Library will open at 11 a.m. tomorrow and will return to its regular 9 a.m. opening time Friday.

Fundraiser

Popsicle Plunge is Saturday

The Popsicle Plunge, an annual race into the Gunpowder River to raise funds for the Marshy Point Nature Center, will be held Saturday.

County officials are seeking both "plungers" and pledges for the fundraiser at the Gunpowder Falls State Park's Hammerman Area near White Marsh.

The event is scheduled at 2 p.m. Entertainment begins at noon, and registration is required.

The Marshy Point Nature Center provides science programs for Baltimore County public school students. Information: 410-887-2817 or www.marshypoint.org.

Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to baltco.news@baltsun.com. Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance of the event.

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