Statewide Environmental Tour Comes to College Park

By: Lauren Kirkwood
Publisher: Council on the Environment
Published: November 8, 2013

College Park will soon host an environmental tour opposing the construction of a natural gas exporting facility on the Chesapeake Bay. 
On Nov. 19, the University of Maryland will become the seventh of nine stops on the tour, which is traveling across the state, stopping at Annapolis, Baltimore and Cumberland, among other cities. The tour, called “Maryland Crossroads 2013: Clean Energy, Not Cove Point,” will bring several speakers, a multimedia presentation and live music to Stamp Student Union on the campus from 7:30-9 p.m.
The proposed exporting facility would increase fracking in the region and expand use of fossil fuels, according to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the nonprofit environmental organization that created the tour.
“[The] Cove Point LNG facility would emit more global-warming pollution annually — 3.3 million tons of carbon dioxide — than do most of the state’s dirtiest coal-burning power plants,” CCAN executive director Mike Tidwell wrote in a guest column in the Washington Post. “Why? Because chilling natural gas to 270 degrees below zero — the temperature at which it becomes liquid and can be pumped onto tankers — is a process that requires a lot of energy.” 
Instead, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network hopes to promote clean energy in the form of solar and wind power. The CCAN is calling for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to complete an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Cove Point project before it moves any further, a step tour organizers said the public widely supports.
“The project would cost upwards of $3.8 billion dollars, require the construction of an energy-intensive plant on-site to liquefy and cool the gas, draw a surge of tanker traffic into the Bay — and enable the export of over one billion cubic feet of carbon-emitting fracked natural gas per day,” according to CCAN’s website.
UMD Student Government Association Director of Sustainability Ori Gutin said the tour will hopefully educate and mobilize Marylanders across the state, including university students.
“This proposal comes at a time where our country is at a crossroads, a crossroads between clean and dirty energy. Choosing to approve this expansion would be siding with dirty energy,” he said. “At UMD, the students represent a hub of intelligent, conscientious and passionate young adults, and it is absolutely vital that they know about this issue and get involved.”

Reprinted from Council on the Environment with permission.