We Are Cove Point Takes On Dominion Resources

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Above photo: Cove Point Protectors at “Area B” on Monday morning. Photo by David Hardy.

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We Are Cove Point Coalition Launches with 4 Days of Training and Actions to Build Campaign Against Dominion’s Hazardous Fracked Gas Export Terminal

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We Are Cove Point – Stop Gas Export Plant

The new We Are Cove Point Coalition was invited by resident-members of Lusby to hold a day-long nonviolent direct action training session and support 3 subsequent days of action to raise awareness in the community of the dangers of Dominion’s Fracked Gas Export Terminal. See the Resource section of the website to read and view more about these hazards.

Putting letters on highway banner at We Are Cove Point action camp. Nov. 30, 2014. By Elias Weston-Farber.

Putting letters on highway banner at We Are Cove Point action camp. Nov. 30, 2014. By Elias Weston-Farber.

The training session held on Sunday, November 30 at the Patuxent Friends Meeting House was attended by more than 40 people from the area and their allies. It was led by Kelly Canavan and Donny Yanqui of Stopping Extraction and Exports Destruction (SEED). Participants role played de-escalation techniques and soft blocks, learned about the roles involved in direct action and put the finishing touches on props.

We Are Cove Point direct action camp participants practice soft blocks. 11/30/14. By Elias Weston-Farber.

We Are Cove Point direct action camp participants practice soft blocks. 11/30/14. By Elias Weston-Farber.

They wore the new We Are Cove Point T-shirts because we are all Cove Point. While the residents of Cove Point are on the front lines of the hazards of the Gas Export Terminal, it will drive fracking throughout the Marcellus Shale that will poison other local communities, drive the construction of more fossil fuel infrastructure such as pipelines and compressors and worsen the climate crisis.

We Are Cove Point activists gather early in the morning on Dec. 1 at Dominion construction site. By Elias Weston-Farber.

We Are Cove Point activists gather early in the morning on Dec. 1 at Dominion construction site. By Elias Weston-Farber.

Early on Monday morning, Cove Point Protectors gathered at the Dominion construction site known as “Area B” on the beautiful shore of Solomon’s Island in MD. Arriving before the workers, protectors picketed in front of the gates. They chanted and sang songs such as “Fracking Rigs” (sung to Country Road), led by the balladeer Dick Ochs.

Tracey Eno under arrest. By Richelle Brown.

Tracey Eno under arrest. By Richelle Brown.

When the first truck arrived, seven protectors, including 2 residents and 5 allies, sat-in at the gate to block the truck and attempt to stall construction. They were each arrested, taken to the Calvert County Detention Center and released about 12 hours later. This was the first arrest for Lusby resident Tracey Eno who runs a local small business and has been fighting the export plant since she learned about it a year ago. She released a statementexplaining her decision to escalate her actions to stop the dangerous terminal.

VIDEO OF MONDAY:

On Monday afternoon, the Cove Point Light Brigade gathered in the median of Highway 4 during rush hour with large banners and illuminated signs to bring attention to the efforts to stop the terminal. Many of the people in the passing cars honked their horns in support and waved.

We Are Cove Point activists’ visibility action on Hwy 4. Photo by Elias Weston-Farber.

We Are Cove Point activists’ visibility action on Hwy 4. Photo by Elias Weston-Farber.

On Tuesday morning, despite the heavy rain and cold temperature, Cove Point Protectors gathered at Dominion’s construction site known as “Area B” on highway 4 in Lusby. Again, they sang and chanted as passers-by honked and cheered their support.

We Are Cove Point activists march to rally area.

We Are Cove Point activists march to rally area.

After the rally, the group marched one and a half miles down Cove Point Rd to the gates of the export terminal. Local police provided an escort on the narrow country road. Almost every resident of the neighborhood who drove by showed enthusiastic support and some residents came out of their homes to watch the long single-file march pass by.

1wacpmarch

When the march arrived at the entrance to Dominion, there were many police present. The marchers started to gather in front of Dominion’s sign for a photo but were met with aggressive opposition to that by the police. Without warning, a young female photographer was grabbed by three officers in military fatigues and detained. Two lawyers for the marchers, Mark Goldstone and Kevin Zeese raised questions about the photographer’s arrest citing the absence of “No trespassing” signs and the lack of warning. The police agreed to issue a written warning and released her. The marchers agreed to move across the street to the front yard of the Hindhorst family to take the photo.

We Are Cove Point marchers on the Hindhorst’s driveway in front of the area where Dominion is building a fracked gas export terminal.

We Are Cove Point marchers on the Hindhorst’s driveway in front of the area where Dominion is building a fracked gas export terminal.

That evening, the Cove Point Light Brigade returned to the median at Highway 4 for more visibility actions. And again, many commuters honked their support. The highlight of that action was when a woman named Heather brought a hot chocolate for each person. She said, “You look cold out here.” We Are Cove Point member Dick Ochs said it was the best hot chocolate he ever tasted!

Steven Norris appreciates the hot chocolate from a supporter.

Steven Norris appreciates the hot chocolate from a supporter.

On Wednesday, Cove Point Protectors turned their attention to the construction company that was hired from out of state to build the export terminal, Kiewit of Nebraska. Two protectors locked their necks to the doors of Kiewit’s office while others read a statement proclaiming that Kiewit had failed public inspection and was condemned for its participation in a project that threatens the health and safety of the public and the future of the planet. Police arrested the two who locked down. They were released that evening and both were energized by the experience.

VIDEO FROM WEDNESDAY:

Overall, We Are Cove Point members see the four days as a huge success. We are impressed that there is so much community concern about the facility and support for the residents and allies who are fighting it. We are confident that we can expose the lies that were told by Dominion to secure permits and the public dangers and environmental impacts that were ignored by public officials. We can build a movement to stop this project!

In fact projects like the one in Cove Point have been stopped before, including very recently in Maryland. After a seven year battle over the public safety and environmental impacts waged by residents who were eventually joined by legislators and public officials, the Sparrow’s Point LNG terminal was stopped in 2013. It had been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but was stopped at the state level. Many of the concerns raised by the Department of Homeland Security, Fire Department and Governor Martin O’Malley are the same concerns cited today regarding the terminal being  built at Cove Point.

Governor O’Malley wrote in Feb., 2007 (See full statement on Resources page):

The State of Maryland is adamantly opposed to the construction of any liquefied natural gas facility at Sparrows Point. As detailed in our report, we have very serious concerns regarding the safety of the proposed project, as well as its impacts to the State’s environment and economy. Specifically, we do not believe that the AES proposal meets the requirements of “remote siting”; adequately addresses threats posed by adjacent land uses; provides for the safe evacuation of the public in the event of an emergency; addresses the significant environmental impacts associated with dredging, air emissions, and pipeline construction; nor recognizes the economic impacts to the Port of Baltimore, commercial, and recreational activities on Chesapeake Bay.

The We Are Cove Point coalition is prepared to use all nonviolent tools available to protect the community of Cove Point from this dangerous terminal. It is outrageous that Dominion Resources would sacrifice the lives of local residents for Dominion’s monetary gain.

The truth is that the fracked gas export project at Cove Point affects everyone in some way.

  • Approval of the first LNG export terminal in a residential area sets a dangerous precedent for approval of other terminals in residential areas.
  • Because gas prices are higher outside the United States, once a terminal is running it will drive more fracking. This means other communities throughout the Marcellus Shale will be exposed to the hazards of fracking: cancer and other diseases, contamination of drinking water and land, spontaneous house fires and more earthquakes.
  • It will drive construction of more pipelines and compressor stations throughout the region which have the potential to explode and cause fires.
  • It will worsen the climate crisis by adding more methane and other Greenhouse Gases into the atmosphere at a time when we should be moving rapidly off fossil fuels as a source of energy and building renewable energy infrastructure.

For these reasons, we are all Cove Point and we urge you to join this fight. Contact us at wearecovepoint@gmail.com.

VIDEO COMPILATION OF THE FOUR DAYS: