Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Liquefied Natural Gas: Sparrows Point and Chillum

AAEA recently presented testimony to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) at a hearing in Dundalk, Maryland on an AES Corporation plan to build a huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility at the old Bethlehem Steel site (now Mittal Steel) on the Patapsco River. Approximately 300 people turned out for the hearing and Governor Robert Ehrlich surprised the crowd with a statement on the project. Virtually all of the politicians, communities, activists and environmenalists oppose the proposed facility.

We pointed out at the hearing that blacks do not own the oil, gas, coal, electricity, gas pipelines, electricity transmission lines, refineries, tankers, oil fields, outer continental shelf drilling platforms, power plants, or oil, gas and utility companies that distribute energy in the United States. Blacks do not even own one tanker. AAEA does not currently have a position but noted at the hearing that these facilities tend to be built regardless of the wall of opposition. We suggested that FERC, AES and the community analyze the effects of minority ownership of the proposed 87-mile pipeline (part of the AES plan) and other concessions.

AAEA is also a Party of Record in the Washington Gas proposal that was before the Zoning Hearing Examiner in Prince George's County, Maryland to build a 12 million gallon peak shaver LNG storage facility. Just as the AES proposal is near a black community (Turner's Station), the proposed Washington Gas facility is in the middle of a black community in Chillum, Maryland. AAEA does not have a position on this project but has suggested minority ownership of the facility and other concessions if it is going to be built. The full County Council recently banned fuel storage at this location and Washington Gas will probably litigate in a futile effort to get approval for the project. All stakeholders should be satisfied with decisions on these energy infrastructure proposals.

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