See below for the press release from the attorneys at AMP Creeks Council regarding the court decision late Monday
Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, had the following statement in response to Monday’s Calvert County Circuit Court ruling against local zoning exemptions for the proposed Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility:
“For months, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and our partners have been warning that corporate leaders and elected officials were cutting dangerous corners in the permitting process for the proposed fracked gas export facility at Cove Point in southern Maryland. Thankfully this week a Calvert County circuit court judge agreed with a big part of our argument. Judge James Salmon ruled with the AMP Creeks Council that Calvert County commissioners had illegally exempted mega-company Dominion Resources from a host of local zoning ordinances.
“At a minimum, this ruling will likely cause real delay in the ability of Dominion to begin major construction of this controversial $3.8 billion fossil fuel project. The ruling should certainly give pause to the Wall Street investors that Dominion is seeking to recruit to finance this expensive, risky project. As fracked-gas exports grow increasingly controversial nationwide, we believe the court ruling in Calvert County this week is just the opening step in exposing the truth about this unsafe, climate-harming, and economy-damaging facility.
“On behalf of CCAN’s supporters and concerned citizens nationwide, we congratulate the attorneys at the AMP Creeks Council in southern Maryland for their extraordinary—and now successful—legal work in this case.”
Mike Tidwell, 240-460-5838, firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Dascalu-Joffe, 240-396-1984, email@example.com
For Immediate Release
August 11, 2014
Kelly Canavan, 301-237-5040, Kelly@ampcreeks.org
The AMP Creeks Council Wins Cove Point LNG Terminal Court Case Against Calvert County
Calvert County, MD – Calvert County Circuit Court Judge James Salmon handed down a decision that has significant implications for the proposed Cove Point LNG export terminal. Judge Salmon found a Calvert County law, passed specifically to clear the way for Dominion Cove Point’s export project, to be in violation of the Maryland Constitution.
The decision was the result of a legal challenge brought by the AMP Creeks Council. AMP Creeks filed suit to contest what it claimed was an attempt by Calvert County to illegally enact a “special law” to fast track Dominion’s pet project.
Judge Salmon ruled in AMP’s favor and specifically stated that “…Ordinance No. 46-13 is invalid for two independent reasons. First, the Ordinance violates the uniformity provision…of the Land Use article. Secondly, the Ordinance constitutes a “special law” that violates the provision of Article III, § 33 of the Maryland Constitution.”
In 2013, the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners and the Calvert Count Planning Commission enacted a text amendment exempting Dominion Cove Point’s LNG project from local zoning. This text amendment exempted Dominion Cove Point’s proposed LNG export facility from local permitting processes designed to protect and safeguard the community.
The AMP Creeks Council’s legal team is still sorting out the implications of this ruling. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been widely expected to grant Dominion final permits to proceed with the construction of their LNG export terminal.
This ruling may throw a wrench in those works. “This is a remarkable victory for the people of Lusby, Maryland, and folks fighting fracking and LNG exports throughout the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Kelly Canavan, President of The AMP Creeks Council.
This is one three current cases the AMP Creeks Council is pursuing in the matter of the Cove Point project. A related case against Calvert County over the denial of a Public Information Act request is pending, as is an appeal of a Maryland Public Service Commission decision.