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No timeline for expected decision

By AMANDA HARRISON

Staff writer

A Calvert County Circuit Court judge heard arguments Monday afternoon in the fight to allow the exportation of liquefied natural gas from Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas in Lusby.

In March, the Sierra Club, the Sierra Club Maryland Chapter and the Maryland Conservation Council Inc., filed for a declaratory judgment regarding the implications of language in a March 2005 contract agreement between Dominion, the Sierra Club and the Maryland Conservation Council.

A declaratory judgment is a legally binding determination of a court that rules on the rights, duties or obligations of parties in a civil dispute.

Dominion, which has proposed spending $3 billion to upgrade its plant in Lusby to export natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing, believes the contract permits the exportation of liquefied natural gas.

The Sierra Club believes the contract allows for expansion of the plant, but not exportation of liquefied natural gas because it could harm the bay, increase natural gas prices and promote hydraulic fracturing, also referred to as “fracking.”

According to Dan Donovan, media relations director for Dominion, the Maryland Conservation Council “agrees with Dominion ... they were very adamant about it at the hearing,” he said.

Attorneys for the Maryland Conservation Council Inc. could not be reached for comment.

According to Sierra Club Attorney Roy L. Mason, Judge James Salmon didn’t make a decision after hearing both parties’ arguments, but said the judge “took the arguments under advisement.”

The judge didn’t give a timeline for when he would give his decision as to what the language in the contract allows, according to Mason and Donovan.

aharrison@somdnews.com