Dundalk Eagle: Citizens won the LNG battle
Jan 6, 2014
For the last eight years, a proposed liquefied natural gas facility at Sparrows Points has threatened the livelihoods and even lives of the surrounding communities including Dundalk, Sparrows Point, Turners Station and Edgemere. We recently received word that the proposal is officially dead in the water, thanks to the persistence and passion of our local community leaders.
LNG is a hazardous fuel that can explode when ignited, posing a significant security risk to neighborhoods, some less than two miles away. LNG tankers would also have to travel beneath the Bay Bridge at the peril of motorists. Moreover, the company proposing the facility was unwilling to pay for new security procedures, leaving Maryland taxpayers to foot the bill even though the natural gas would be pumped out-of-state. The proposal also left unanswered questions related to impacts on endangered and threatened species that live in environmentally-sensitive areas of the Chesapeake Bay.
Credit is due to the relentless efforts of key community activists – with special recognition to the late Sharon Beazley, Russell Donnelly, Dunbar Brooks, pro bono attorney Bart Fisher and the entire LNG Opposition Team.
You organized quickly at the grassroots level, from that first meeting at Union Baptist Church. You focused on facts and data, not emotions and threats. You filled fire halls and wrote letters, and navigated an incredibly complex regulatory process. Your local, state and federal elected officials stood by you through the entire fight.
I remain concerned about our country’s reliance on foreign energy sources and many responsible, well-planned domestic energy projects are derailed by the common “not in my backyard” sentiment. But this was the wrong proposal at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Working together, we first halted a federal prison and now the LNG facility. I am proud of the community’s efforts and I look forward to the day when eastern Baltimore County is no longer viewed as the dumping ground for toxic projects.
I also hope to see the same collaboration as we plan a future Sparrows Point peninsula where residents can continue to play in its waterways and earn a decent living along its shores.
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Member of Congress, MD-02