Community Victorious; Dominion Won’t Build Proposed Compressor Station

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Above Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr

Great news from AMP Creeks Council; this should be a precedent for Virginia (e.g., the proposed compressor station in Union Hill) as well!

P.S. Cover photo courtesy of Anne Meador, DC Media Group.

Community Victorious; Dominion Won’t Build Proposed Compressor Station

The AMP Creeks Council and greater Southern Maryland Community are Celebrating a Victory in a two-year fight against Dominion Energy Cove Point’s (DECP) efforts to build a giant fracked gas compressor station on 14 clear cut acres surrounded by fragile wetlands that often flood in the Accokeek/Bryans Road area. Emily Architzel, an AMP Creeks Board member who recently moved from Bryans Road to Accokeek and is disabled said, “Holy cow! I’m breathing a giant fracked gas-free sigh of relief. The pollution from this compressor station would have driven my family out of the area because of the potential impacts to my health.”

This morning Dominion released the following statement:

“Dominion Energy will not construct a natural gas transmission compressor station at its Charles County Marshall Hall site. We will continue our existing operations at that site, which consist of a field office, a warehouse, and pipeline inspection and safety-related equipment.

We are actively evaluating alternatives for this component of our Eastern Market Access project. This requires the engagement of multiple stakeholders, as successful solutions must meet the needs of the project’s customers. Discussions with customers are ongoing.” 

Dominion’s application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) included a schedule announcing November 1, 2017 as the date they intended to begin construction of the Charles Station compressor station. If built, the Charles Station compressor station would increase capacity on the Dominion Cove Point pipeline, purportedly to send gas to a power plant that now seems unlikely to get built in Brandywine and to Washington Gas and Light. None of the gas would go to the area in which Charles Station was proposed (Charles County, in spitting distance of the Prince George’s County line). Indeed, it is widely believed that Charles Station was intended to push gas to Dominion’s Cove Point export terminal in Calvert County, Maryland.

Dominion suffered a possibly fatal blow to the project’s permitting process this spring after 12 hearings, during which AMP Creeks and several individuals were represented by J. Carroll Holzer, P.A., when the Charles County Board of Appeals denied Dominion’s application for a zoning special exception to build Charles Station. Dominion then sued the Board of Appeals and the Charles County Board of Commissioners in the Federal District Court of Maryland in a desperate attempt to have the entire Charles County zoning code preempted. AMP Creeks filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings.

The admirable, but difficult ruling by the Board of Appeals was made under extreme pressure, and set in motion a mechanism that could stop the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) from approving Dominion’s Air Quality permit. Without that permit, Dominion would be unable to move forward. Recently, MDE stopped all work on the permit and two others for the same project because of the controversy over the Board of Appeals ruling and conversations Dominion was having with the Mount Vernon Ladies Association which had joined the chorus of voices opposing Charles Station. The closed door conversations were reported to be about moving the compressor station out of Mount Vernon’s viewshed.

Dominion filed a motion for a stay, and then another one, asking the Federal District Court of Maryland to pause its proceedings while it searched for a new site. Dominion has not filed papers with the court announcing any intentions to drop the suit at this time.

AMP Creeks President Kelly Canavan said, “AMP Creeks is fully committed to continuing to fight this project wherever it rears its ugly head, but for now we’re celebrating. We fully intend that this win will be a trend, not an aberration. The health of one community is no more important than the health of another. Dominion’s carpetbagging profiteering has no place in a decent society.”