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Through an informal, verbal agreement between House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md. 5th) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, there will be a public meeting to discuss the environmental assessment currently under development on Dominion Cove Point’s liquefied natural gas export project.

“We have not projected a timeframe for when that document will be released,” FERC spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen said Monday. Once it is released, she said, FERC will issue a notice of its availability and a date and location for the local public meeting will be set.

FERC is in the process of reviewing Dominion’s application for the proposed $3.8 billion LNG export project, which Dominion filed April 1, 2012. The project also is under review and awaiting approval from other state and federal permitting agencies, including the Maryland Public Service Commission.

In an emailed statement Monday evening, Hoyer said, “I am pleased that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has agreed to my request to convene a public meeting in Maryland’s Fifth District after issuing the draft Environmental Assessment that is now under development. At this meeting, residents will be able to learn more about the contents of that document, voice concerns and add their comments to the public record for FERC to consider as it prepares a final document.”

At the meeting, FERC will present the draft environmental assessment, answer questions and take public comment and input on the project.

“All comments are treated equally and will be considered by staff when they complete their final environmental assessment,” Young-Allen said, adding that the comments will become part of the formal record on the project.

The meeting “will be the same type of formal meeting that would be held following the release of a draft Environmental Impact Statement,” according to an email from Mariel Saez, Hoyer’s press secretary.

ascott@somdnews.com