Judge rules against Dominion LNG in zoning dispute

By Associated Press

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. — A judge has ruled that Calvert County improperly granted zoning exemptions for a proposed facility to liquefy and export natural gas that has drawn opposition from environmentalists.

In his ruling, Judge James Salmon said the county is required under the state constitution to apply zoning laws uniformly and that a 2013 county ordinance exempting Dominion Resources’ proposed Cove Point plant fails to do so.

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But the judge wrote in his ruling that he does not expect his decision to have any direct effect on whether the plant will be built.

Still, environmentalists told The Daily Record that they believe the ruling will delay the $3.8 billion project.

Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said Salmon agreed with “a big part” of the group’s argument that “corporate leaders and elected officials were cutting dangerous corners in the permitting process for the proposed fracked gas export facility at Cove Point.”

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“At a minimum, this ruling will likely cause real delay in the ability of Dominion to begin major construction,” Tidwell said in a statement.

Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion Resources wants to build the plant to take advantage of a boom in gas production fueled by new drilling techniques.