Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski has denounced FERC’s post-Sept. 11 attack decision to allow Williams to proceed with the planned reactivation of its Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Lusby, MD, because, she says, it would permit “flammable” LNG to be imported to a site within four miles of a nuclear plant in the state.
From the Senate floor Wednesday, she said she was “deeply alarmed” that the Commission would permit LNG to “come up the Chesapeake Bay and dock three-and-a-half miles down from the nuclear plant” at Calvert Cliffs, MD. This is a “nightmare scenario,” the Democratic lawmaker said.
FERC last month gave the green light to Williams to reactivate its existing Cove Point LNG facilities and import services by April 1, 2002, and to begin construction of a fifth LNG storage tank to boost capacity to 7.8 Bcf. The 850,000-barrel tank has an in-service date of Sept. 1, 2003.
Milkulski demanded that FERC Chairman Pat Wood review the agency’s permitting process and its Cove Point ruling in the “interest of national security and national safety.” She said she plans to bring the matter to the attention of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Robert Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well.
In addition, “I am turning to [the] U.S. Coast Guard…to ensure that the Coast Guard rigorously reviews the Cove Point proposal,” the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to review the “potential threat to the safety of Calvert Cliffs by this proposed re-opening,” and to Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening.
“You can be sure that I will follow up with all these officials. I am very serious about the threat of terrorism…I want to make sure that LNG shipments into Cove Point and other American terminals are thoroughly considered as a national security issue, not just an energy issue.”
She said, “We do need more natural gas in our country. We need to look at energy policy,” but not at the risk of inviting terrorism. “One of the main sources [for LNG] is Algeria. Algeria is on every terrorist watch list.” Yet FERC has given the go-ahead for Algerian tankers to “just come up and park in Maryland next to a nuclear power plant.”
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