Sparrows Point LNG heads for US court decision

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

AES, which is based in Arlington, Virginia, is challenging the constitutional basis of a local county council’s passing of an amendment to its Coastal Zone Management plan, banning LNG plants being located in environmentally sensitive coastal areas.

The Sparrows Point terminal venture envisages an initial send-out capacity of 1.5 billion cubic feet per day and three 160,000 cubic metres capacity storage tanks.

Under the plan, the LNG would be transported to market through an 87-mile pipeline to be built to southern Pennsylvania.

The Sparrows Point venture is currently undergoing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s permitting process.  Among issues being examined are the company's  request to dredge the Patapsco River to accommodate LNG carriers.

The project site was previously owned by the Bethlehem Steel and used for manufacturing steel and for shipbuilding.

Currently, the area is used to store scrap metal material. AES argues that the project site is under-used and would be cleaned up by the project being sited there.

Opponents argue that the project won't cut local utility bills and that its potential impacts on the environment and public safety outweighed any benefits.

The case was being heard today in Richmond, Virginia.