Press Release

February 28, 2008

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today led her Team Maryland colleagues
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D), and Congressmen
Elijah E. Cummings (D),
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D), and
John Sarbanes (D) in urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject the AES Sparrows Point LNG, LLC application to create a proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) site at Sparrows Point in Baltimore. In a letter to FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher, Team Maryland pointed to yesterday’s U.S. Coast Guard waterway suitability report that states that the Port of Baltimore is not suitable for LNG activities because AES’ risk calculations and proposed risk reduction measures were insufficient.

If the application is approved, LNG tankers would have to travel through the narrowest portions of the Chesapeake Bay, under the Bay Bridge, through heavily used commercial fishing and recreational boating areas, to the mouth of the Port of Baltimore. This is a densely populated area that is less than two miles away from residential communities that are home to more than 65,000 residents.

“It is my responsibility as Maryland’s senior Senator, to make sure the right people are asking the right questions to protect Baltimore. I have always opposed a new LNG facility in Sparrows Point, but today there is even more evidence that a new site is unsafe and unwise,” said Senator Mikulski, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “The Coast Guard has confirmed what I have been saying for more than a year – AES is not prepared, and our state and local law enforcement are too stretched and strained to fill the gap.”

“I continue to strongly oppose building a LNG facility at Sparrows Point, and the U.S. Coast Guard report confirms that this location would present serious security problems.  In addition to the Coast Guard’s concerns, the LNG terminal lacks the support of the community and state and federal officials who are worried about the safety and security of area residents.  It is time for FERC to take action to ensure that the proposed LNG facility is not built at Sparrows Point,” said Senator Cardin.

“When it comes to the safety of Maryland families, we simply cannot afford to get things wrong. This is the second time that AES has submitted a waterway suitability assessment, and the second time the Coast Guard has deemed the assessment unsatisfactory,” said Congressman Cummings, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. “It is alarmingly clear that Sparrows Point is not an ideal location for an LNG terminal, and it is critical that FERC act accordingly by rejecting the application.”

“Enough is enough.  How much longer do our citizens have to go through this?  Sparrows Point is not the right location for an LNG facility.  This Coast Guard report proves that.  AES Corporation, a company with $12 billion in annual revenue, is not taking security seriously and wants the Coast Guard and the Maryland tax payers to foot the bill.  FERC needs to put an end to this and deny the application once and for all,” said Congressman Ruppersberger, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.  

“The debate about whether or not to place a LNG facility at Sparrows Point has always hinged on the issue of safety. That is at the heart of the Coast Guard’s findings and should weigh heavily on FERC’s decision,” said Congressman Sarbanes.

For details on the Coast Guard’s report, please contact Steve Carlton at 757-398-6239.

The text of letter is below:

Dear Chairman Kelliher:

We urge you to seriously consider the U.S. Coast Guard’s waterway suitability report and reject the AES Sparrows Point LNG, LLC (AES) application.

Yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard released a report stating that the Port of Baltimore is not suitable for LNG activities because AES’ risk calculations and proposed risk reduction measures were not sufficient. As we feared all along, the Coast Guard confirmed that both they and our state and local law enforcement are already stretched too thin and simply don’t have the resources to adequately protect the LNG tankers and facility. As you know, we have repeatedly expressed our opposition to the proposed LNG site in Baltimore County, Maryland due to our concerns about the safety and security of the surrounding communities.

On April 23, 2007, Mr. Richard R. Hoffman, from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. Mr. Hoffman clearly stated that he thought any proposed facility that did not receive a favorable waterway suitability report would not go forward.

We appreciate your consideration of this important issue and look forward to a prompt reply.