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Gansler looks to reverse decision on LNG Terminal

By Keith Loria | May 11, 2009

Doug Gansler (D)

BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) -- Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler announced Monday that the state has filed a lawsuit looking to reverse the Department of Commerce's decision in support of an LNG Terminal.

The suit was filed in federal district court challenging the U.S. Department of Commerce's decision that the AES Sparrows Point liquefied natural gas terminal and pipeline project is consistent with the policies outlined in the Coastal Zone Management Act.

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 law.

"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," the Democratic attorney general said. "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."

The proposed construction would see AES and Mid-Atlantic Express LLC building the 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, the attorney general said.

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.

Gansler said the state also 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.

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