Proposed LNG production plant merits full review [Letter]

December 09, 2013

Diane Leopold's recent commentary conveniently ignores some important points ("Dominion Transmission: Cove Point LNG project environmentally sound," Dec. 5). First, the original Environmental Impact Study (EIS) she refers to was for the Dominion property as an LNG import and distribution facility. What is being proposed is an LNG production facility. To claim the original EIS covers this is tantamount to saying "apples, door knobs, they're both round."

It is not reassuring to know that Dominion would pay other companies for their reduced emissions. Will those other companies also breathe the air coming from the LNG production facility? Will they mitigate the possible damage to the Chesapeake Bay and Southern Maryland?

Ms. Leopold also conveniently omits mentioning Dominion's plans to build two walls, 60 feet high by maybe a quarter-mile long, to reduce noise from the always-on LNG production generators. Why 60 feet? Will that reduce the continuous 24/7 noise from that of jet engines to only leaf blowers? Or will it completely silence that noise? And by the way, the plans are to build two walls, not four. Why just two? Let those of us north of the planned facility just wear ear plugs and pretend that the charm of the Chesapeake hasn't been despoiled?

"Ship traffic to and from the Cove Point pier will not change from currently permitted levels," she says. True, but there are no ships coming to the pier today. What are the plans to protect vulnerable LNG tankers from asymmetric attacks such as the one that hit the USS Cole? In 2004, Richard Clarke who was then the U.S. anti-terrorism czar, shut down all LNG traffic into Boston Harbor because of the danger from a terrorist strike. "Had one of the giant tankers blown up..., it would have wiped out downtown Boston," Clarke said in his book, "Against All Enemies." An explosion of just one bulbous tank on an LNG ship could produce a fire half-a-mile wide, experts say. Along a densely populated shoreline, they add, such an inferno could be disastrous. One rocket propelled grenade into the bulbous container of liquid LNG could be catastrophic, and that pier is only three miles from Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant.

LNG production is fundamentally different from LNG distribution. We need an Environmental Impact Study and more including a review by the Department of Homeland Security.

Treasure the Chesapeake!

Bob Boeri, St. Leonard

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