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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Announces the State Has Filed Suit Seeking Reversal of Decision on LNG Terminal

BALTIMORE, 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 activities.

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.


   

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