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In a conference call with more than 150 people from at least four states last week, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network announced plans to rally July 13 in Washington, D.C., against the proposed export project at Dominion Cove Point.

CCAN expects thousands of people to join the rally. Beginning at the Capitol, the crowd will march to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission building to demand a full environmental impact statement assessing the risks involved with Cove Point’s application to become an export facility of liquefied natural gas.

“Cove Point is one of the biggest environmental issues, if not the biggest, in the mid-Atlantic region,” said Mike Tidwell, the director of CCAN, during the conference call.

The rally will come after the expected May 15 release of FERC’s environmental assessment on the project. After May 15, FERC will accept public comments for 30 days, and the commission has informally committed to a public hearing at this time. Tidwell said the hearing will probably be May 31 in Lusby, but no further details are available.

“We will be making our voices heard at the May 31 meeting in Lusby,” he said.

Tidwell said he believes the environmental assessment will be insufficient in addressing the many effects of the plant. FERC has said previously it will determine in its assessment whether an environmental impact statement is needed.

Even though the rally will come after the end of the 30-day public comment period, CCAN hopes FERC will extend the comment period to 60 days, said Kelly Trout, CCAN spokesperson.

Even if the rally is held after the comment period, Trout said the rally should remind FERC of what its priorities should be as the commission considers the public comments and makes its decision.

Lusby resident Tracey Eno cited concerns such as emergency readiness and the likelihood of a catastrophe at the plant as issues that need to be addressed.

“We’ve really been lacking in answers,” Eno said. “... People are worried and confused, and they’re angry.”

During the call, activists and community leaders, including Eno, Frostburg State University student Ben Brown and anti-fracking activists Sandra Steingraber and Karen Feridun, offered their perspectives on the Cove Point expansion in addition to fielding questions from callers about ways they can work to halt the project.

“We’re going to respond relentlessly with our time and actions to stop it,” Brown said. “... This is a threat to public health, public safety, the environment.”

sfleischman@somdnews.com