- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved amendments to the Comprehensive Water & Sewage Plan to connect Dominion Cove Point’s project laydown site to public water and sewer during its meeting Tuesday. The amendments will be forwarded to the Maryland Department of the Environment for final approval.
The decision came following a public hearing where four speakers signed up to comment. One person was in support of the proposed expansion of Dominion Cove Point, on which the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was expected to release its environmental assessment Thursday, and three spoke against the project and the county allowing the company to connect to public water and sewer.
Previously, the board voted unanimously April 15 to authorize the planning commission to determine if the proposed amendments were consistent with the comprehensive water and sewage plan and to move forward with the public hearing.
Principal Planner Patricia Haddon said during the April meeting that the work would be paid for by Dominion, and the infrastructure would remain on the site after Dominion is finished using the land.
Connecting the site to public water and sewer is required by the state department of the environment because the site will function as a “city” with a daily population of 2,000.
But this city will not house any workers; it is a laydown site for parking and equipment, said Karl Neddenien, Dominion Cove Point spokesman, in an email.
“This plant will give us the tax base to provide the quality of life that’s in the county now and moving forward,” said Brad Karbowsky from the United Association of Plumbers and Fitters on Tuesday. “In addition to that, it is going to provide, in the near term, jobs for my members who live in this county and won’t have to travel out.”
But Lusby resident Eleanor Callahan and others spoke out against the expansion and the proposed amendments.
“With all due respect, commissioners, you all have been rubber-stamping anything and everything with regard to Dominion’s $3.8 billion expansion, while throwing all of us, the citizens — may I remind you, your constituents — under the bus for $40 million and a small handful of permanent jobs,” Callahan said.
Although the amendments were found to be in line with the comprehensive plan, Lusby resident June Sevilla said the plan itself has outdated information on groundwater supply.
“Your comprehensive sewage plan is sorely lacking in new data,” Sevilla said.
Commissioner Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark (R) said the water used by the site still is within what the county is permitted to use, and MDE enforces water usage.
“Obviously, if you’re opposed to the whole thing, you’re going to be opposed to every little piece of it,” Commissioner Susan Shaw (R) said. “But if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — not the board of county commissioners, but FERC — approves this project, then we do need to try to protect the critical area. ... We do need to do whatever we can to mitigate the disruption that definitely is going to occur if this project is approved, and this is what this is all about.”