April 28, 2014

More natural gas production, shipping in Md. favored in poll

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By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf

jeremy@marylandreporter.com

Pipes at Cove Point facility by Amanda Salvucci, Capital News Service.

Pipes at Cove Point facility by Amanda Salvucci, Capital News Service.

A majority of Marylanders favor increased tapping of natural gas and oil in the state, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute and the Maryland Petroleum Council, found that 88% agreed with the idea that increased production of gas and oil would stimulate the economy, while 91% favor the development of national energy infrastructure.

The poll was conducted by telephone among more than 600 Maryland voters across party lines. The voters also indicated support for a proposed liquefied gas export terminal at Cove Point in Calvert County.

Cove Point in Calvert favored by poll, but has opponents

Approximately 77% agreed with the exporting gas from sources like the project at Cove Point, according to the poll.

The owners of Cove Point, Dominion, estimate the expansion will cost $3.8 billion, but the company would supply Calvert County with an annual $40 million in property taxes for the first five years, and create 75 new jobs post-construction.

Dominion was already granted a 42% tax break by Calvert County government for nine years following that five-year period.

“The Cove Point terminal represents one of Maryland’s best opportunities to participate in the energy revolution, create thousands of jobs, and generate millions in state revenue,” said Drew Cobbs, executive director of the Maryland Petroleum Council in a press release. “America is now the world’s leading producer of natural gas, and Maryland voters want to be a part of this opportunity to strengthen America’s position on the international stage.”

Opponents of the measure cite safety and environmental concerns for southern Maryland, saying that the process of drilling, converting and exporting the gas will stimulate polluting greenhouse gases.

Maryland’s Sierra Club, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and gubernatorial hopeful Del. Heather Mizeur, D-Montgomery County, have all spoken out against the proposal.

For more information about Cove Point, Capital News Service recently produced a package of stories.