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Dominion Cove Point
An undated aerial photo of the Dominion Liquified Natural Gas facility in Cove Point, Md. (AP Photo/ Matt Houston)

PSC approves Cove Point project

The state Public Service Commission granted conditional approval for Dominion Resources Inc. to build an electric generating station at its Lusby, Maryland, facility, even though regulators determined the project would not be a net benefit for Maryland residents.

The PSC ordered Dominion to pay $48 million over the next two decades in connection with pollution and public safety issues and to help low-income consumers.

The 130-megawatt Cove Point generating station is being built to service the proposed liquefied natural gas export and import facility.

“The Commission found in its review that the project, as proposed, would not provide net benefits to Maryland citizens. Therefore, the Commission focused on actions that will advance and protect their environmental and economic interests,” according to a news release from the commission.

Dominion is being ordered to pay $40 million over five years to Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Fund. Also, because of concerns that exporting natural gas could cause price increases, Dominion must pay $8 million over 20 years to the Maryland Energy Assistance program to mitigate the impact of cost bump on the poor.

Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, expressed concern about the safety of areas surrounding the plant, and insisted a drastic emergency response plan be put in place. He also expressed doubt Dominion would be able to create an adequate plan.

“If any accident goes off site, they’re going to kill people,” Tidwell said.

The order was signed by all four members of the Public Service Commission.

Earlier this year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that the project did not pose any significant environmental danger.

Daily Record Business Writer Lizzy McLellan contributed to this story.