FERC denies EA public comment extension requests
Timeframe for Dominion Cove Point project review remains as planned
After dozens filed requests to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend the 30-day public comment period on the environmental assessment for the proposed export project at Dominion Cove Point released last month, the commission announced Wednesday by a document uploaded to its online docket that the comment period duration will remain as planned.
The public comment period on the assessment will end June 16. The assessment, released May 15, determined, with appropriate mitigation measures, the proposed liquefied natural gas export plant at Dominion Cove Point in Lusby would not pose a significant impact to the environment.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D), Sen. Ben Cardin (D), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) and others requested an extension of 30 days, and other agencies and individuals filed comments requesting a 60-day extension for a total of a 90-day comment period.
The American Petroleum Institute, the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners, Del. Mark Fisher (R-Calvert), Del. Anthony J. O’Donnell (R-Calvert, St. Mary’s), Dominion and others filed comments asking FERC to deny the extension requests.
Dominion has asserted the public comment period is ample for the more-than-200-page document.
“The Commission’s review of the Cove Point Liquefaction Project, and the opportunity for public comment on its environmental impact, began almost two years ago with the initiation on June 26, 2012, of the pre-filing process,” states a May 23 letter from Dominion, uploaded to the online FERC docket.
Karl Neddenien, spokesman for Dominion Cove Point, said the decision to continue the comment period as planned comes as confirmation of what the company said in the May 23 letter.
“It confirms what we have been saying all along, that there has been ample time to comment,” Neddenien said.
In a statement from Cardin, Mikulski, Hoyer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) Wednesday morning, the legislators said they were disappointed in FERC’s decision.
“It’s unfortunate FERC has denied this request, refusing to respect the need for Marylanders to have sufficient time to review and understand the contents of the environmental assessment document and provide comment to the agency as it prepares to make a final decision on the project,” according to the statement.
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, one of the agencies that opposes the project and filed for an extension of the comment period, will continue to collect comments through Monday to deliver to FERC in person or electronically, said CCAN spokesperson Kelly Trout.
“Opponents of the Cove Point proposal continue to call on FERC to finally reject this project, and legal remedy will likely be sought if the commission approves the project based on their limited environmental review process,” said Mike Tidwell, CCAN director, in a press release.