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Maryland county could lease 219 acres to natural gas firm

Maryland's Calvert County could be home to an expanded plant that would allow for the export of natural gas. The county's Board of County Commissioners recently unanimously agreed to continue preparations to lease two properties to Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas, which is looking to expand the capability of its existing facility. Dominion Cove is seeking approximately 219 acres of land, about 119 of which are owned by the county. The remaining 100 acres are privately owned.

So far, the BOCC has only voted in favor of preparing a commercial lease for an 80-acre stretch of land that Dominion hopes to use as a temporary construction site. A representative with Dominion said it has not yet been determined how much of those 80 acres will be used. Dominion has expressed interest in using the remaining 39 acres of county-owned land occasionally for bringing in large equipment, though the company does not expect to require use of the land until 2015.

Some of the land in question is typically used to seat people during concerts, but the Dominion representative explained that the firm would likely attempt to work around the concert schedule. He added that the company purposefully chose sites it deemed to be the least disruptive to the community and that Dominion will welcome feedback and participation from the community's local governing bodies in the leasing and construction process.

Before the BOCC agrees to lease the properties, both parties must first finalize its terms. After that, the BOCC will hold a public hearing regarding the matter. Additionally, Dominion must still secure approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build its extension, which would allow its currently import-only plant to export natural gas as well. The company is still in the pre-filing process, but it plans to ask for approval by March 2014.

Source: SoMdNews.com, "BOCC may lease land to Dominion," Amanda Harrison, Sept. 19, 2012

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