FERC to hold first pub­lic meet­ing on nat­u­ral gas con­nec­tor sta­tion

Do­min­ion plan­ning to build Charles County fa­cil­ity for en­ergy projects

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com

Do­min­ion Cove Point LNG has plans to build a con­nec­tor sta­tion for one of its pipe­lines to con­nect nat­u­ral gas to Wash­ing­ton Gas cus­tomers in the re­gion and the Panda Power Funds Mat­ta­woman Project.

But be­fore that project is ap­proved, the Fed­eral En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion must sign off on it. And be­fore there are any ap­provals from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, pub­lic meet­ings must be held. FERC is

hold­ing a pub­lic meet­ing in Wal­dorf at the Hil­ton Gar­den Inn at O’Don­nell Place on March 2.

Karl Ned­de­nien, a pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer for Do­min­ion, said the sole pur­pose of the fa­cil­ity the com­pany would be build­ing would be to serve as a con­nec­tor sta­tion for the Eastern Mar­ket Ac­cess Project, which moves nat­u­ral gas to plants for Panda and Wash­ing­ton Gas.

“We’re re­plac­ing coal and pro­vid­ing clean, ef­fi­cient fuel. The con­struc- tion of a com­pres­sor sta- tion will en­able ad­di­tional gas to flow through the pipe­line,” Ned­de­nien said.

The project would be built on a prop­erty cur- rently owned by Do­min­ion in Charles County. The pro­posed project would pro­vide 294 mil- lion stan­dard cu­bic feet per day of nat­u­ral gas to the Mat­ta­woman En­ergy Cen­ter and Wash­ing­ton Gas Light Com­pany. The gas pipe­line cur­rently comes in through Fair- fax, Va., and trav­els into Charles County. The con­nect sta­tion would be built in the north­west­ern por­tion of the county in the area of Acko­keek in a forested area and would travel through St. Charles to the Wash­ing- ton Gas Light com­pany sta­tion.

Ahead of the pub­lic meet­ings on the prop­erty, the FERC opened up the scop­ing process on the prop­erty and is cur- rently ac­cept­ing pub­lic com­ments on the mat­ter. The com­mis­sion sent out a no­tice on Feb. 15 stat- ing the staff will de­ter- mine “what is­sues they need to eval­u­ate in the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment” of the area.

Kimberly Bose, a sec­re­tary for the com­mis­sion, said cit­i­zens may file their com­ments elec­tron­i­cally at the com­mis­sion’s web­site and can also mail pa­per copies to the com­mis­sion at 888 First Street NE, Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

“The pri­mary goal of this scop­ing ses­sion is to have you iden­tify the spe­cific en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues and con­cerns that should be con­sid­ered to be pre­pared for this project,” Bose said. “The for­mat is de­signed to re­ceive the max­i­mum amount of ver­bal com­ments.”

The meet­ing will last from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with doors open­ing 30 min­utes prior to the start of the pro­ceed­ings. There will not be a for­mal pre­sen­ta­tion by the com­mis­sion staff, she said, when the ses­sion opens.

Staff will hand out num­bers in the or­der in which cit­i­zens ar­rive and will stop count­ing at 7 p.m.

“It is im­por­tant to note that ver­bal com­ments hold the same weight as writ­ten or elec­tron­i­cally sub­mit­ted com­ments,” Bose said. “Al­though there will not be a for­mal pre­sen­ta­tion, staff will be avail­able through­out the com­ment ses­sion to an­swer your ques­tions.”

The pro­posed project would pro­vide 294 mil­lion stan­dard cu­bic feet per day of nat­u­ral gas to the Mat­ta­woman En­ergy Cen­ter and Wash­ing­ton Gas Light Com­pany.

Bose said the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment will present an in­de­pen­dent anal­y­sis of the is­sues from the com­mis­sion. They will con­sider the im­pact on facets such as ge­ol­ogy, soils, land use, wa­ter re­sources, cul­tural re­sources, air qual­ity, noise, veg­e­ta­tion, en­dan­gered species and pub­lic safety.

There will also be “rea­son­able al­ter­na­tives” eval­u­ated to the pro­posed project, Bose said.

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