General Gansler Announces the State Has Filed Suit Seeking
Reversal of Decision on LNG Terminal
MD (May 8, 2009) - Attorney General
Douglas F. Gansler announced today that the State of Maryland
has filed suit in federal
district court challenging the U.S. Department of Commerce’s
decision that the AES Sparrows Point liquefied natural gas
(LNG) terminal and pipeline project is consistent with the
policies of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). The State
is asking the court to reverse the Department’s decision
and to send the issue back to the Commerce Secretary with instructions
to abide by the Act.
“The construction of an LNG terminal in Maryland could
negatively affect both the environment and the families who live
and work in the surrounding communities,” said Attorney General
Gansler. “The new Commerce Secretary should thoroughly review
this project and recognize the significant adverse impact this
project would have on the Chesapeake Bay and the citizens of Maryland.”
AES and Mid-Atlantic Express LLC (AES) have proposed the construction
of an LNG import terminal on 80 acres of the former Bethlehem Steel
property at Sparrows Point and an accompanying 88-mile pipeline
from Sparrows Point, through Baltimore, Harford, and Cecil counties
into Pennsylvania. The 30-inch diameter pipeline would cross 171
waterways, adversely impact approximately 23 acres of wetlands
in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and involve the dredging and disposal
of approximately 3.7 million cubic yards of sediment from Baltimore
Harbor, much of which has been contaminated due to past industrial
Maryland had earlier
determined that the project was not consistent with Maryland’s Coastal Zone Management Program. AES appealed
that determination to former Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez,
who overrode Maryland’s decision.
In addition to today’s court filing, Maryland has requested
a rehearing of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s
January 2009 decision to issue a license to AES under the Natural
Gas Act to build and operate the terminal and pipeline facility.
Also, in April 2009, the Maryland Department of the Environment
denied a water quality certification because it was unable to conclude
that the project would be carried out in compliance with Maryland
water quality standards.
See the complaint here.