Sierra Club holds up LNG facility in Maryland

Environmental group the Sierra Club has issued a legal challenge to plans by Dominion Resources Inc. to transform a liquid natural gas import facility into one that could ship the fuel abroad, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The Dominion Cove Point facility in Calvert County, Maryland, has been in operation for more than 40 years, importing natural gas for steadily rising U.S. demand. With the rise of hydraulic fracturing in the country, however, the facility has seen less demand for imports and steadily dropping natural gas prices.

In an effort to take advantage of higher prices abroad, the company wants to spend $2 billion to add new facilities that would allow it to cool down and liquefy natural gas. Dominion estimates that the export facility would bring in around $40 million in taxes for the county.

However, the export facility operates under an agreement with the Sierra Club, which the group says it is unwilling to renegotiate to allow for exports. Despite positive reviews of Dominion's record, the group insists it will not approve of the facility because of the impact it could have on the use of fracking.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the natural gas industry pushed for expanded exports at the recent Shale Gas Insight conference.

Assessments of the Marcellus shale are available at PennEnergy's Research area.

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