2005 November 25
by Marie Jones Holmes
Eight Robbinston residents participated in a visit to the Dominion Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility located on the Chesapeake Bay in Cove Point, Md., south of Baltimore. The three-day trip, which commenced on November 12, was sponsored by Downeast LNG, the Washington, D.C.-based company that proposes to build an LNG terminal and storage facilities at Mill Cove in Robbinston.
Participating in the trip were Joan Russell, Fred Donahue, Dan Hollingdale, Jimmy Lucas, Bob Merrill, Cheryl Mahar, Earl Stanhope and Michael Footer. The group was part of a 90-member committee formed earlier this year to study various aspects of the proposed LNG project.
"I wanted to see how the facility might affect a rural area," states Russell. She says the visit to the Cove Point site dispelled any fears of a facility being located in Robbinston. Russell says there is a housing development area located across from the Maryland facility and a child-care center approximately 2,000 feet across from the entrance to the site. She says the trip helped to allay her concerns about such a facility being built in a rural residential area.
Michael Footer also commented on the proximity of a residential area to the Cove Point facility. Footer describes the facility as quiet, noting that there is no smoke or vapor unlike a mill, a boiler, or power plant. After visiting the facility, Footer says, "I really think it is just coming down to aesthetics. It is not the process itself. Is aesthetics the strongest point for a project not to go forward?" Footer says it wasn't natural to have piers or weirs placed out in the water, but it was done.
Cheryl Mahar, who has served on the local safety committee, said that she had thought there would be a lot of noise associated with the facility and excessive lighting. Mahar says there was no noise, and the site was fenced and had security measures in place. She did not see lots of lights. Commenting on the trip, she says, "I don't think we would have done the town justice if we didn't see what we were considering."
The group also met with members of the Cove Point Chamber of Commerce and the county commissioners and noted there were no unfavorable comments expressed by the local officials concerning the location of the facility in their area.
While not all eight members could be reached for comment concerning the trip, the three who did discuss the trip believe all those who traveled to Maryland returned to Robbinston with a more positive attitude towards the proposed project.