Editor: Two weeks ago, it was reported that another increase in capacity at Dominion Power’s Loudoun Compressor station, located south of Leesburg, is needed for the utility’s proposed natural gas Eastern Market Access, EMA, project. Last week, Dominion Power invited Loudoun to an upcoming informational Open House about EMA. The description/rationale for the project, found at dom.com/easternmarket, lists several Customer Benefits, all of which are false.
Claim #1: “Cleaner air and more reliable energy.” Although natural gas burns cleaner than coal, natural gas/methane pollutes the air more than coal power plants. This is because of unintended, “fugitive emissions” all along the natural gas/methane extraction and delivery chain as well as deliberate emissions from “venting” as experienced here in Loudoun earlier this month. Dominion touts natural gas/methane as a bridge fuel in the transition to renewable sources of energy, but scientists debunked this myth years ago.
As for reliability, distributed renewable energy from installations on homes, businesses, schools, or military bases is much less vulnerable to failure or attack than centralized energy from power plants.
Claim #2: “Economic benefits for customers.” Natural gas/methane is not, as Dominion describes, reliable. Only clean renewable sources such as wind, sun, and geothermal are. Unlike renewables that will never run out, non-renewable fossil fuels like natural gas will. In fact, fracked gas production wells typically only produce for a few, very short years.
Claim #3: “Energy Independence through natural gas.” Exporting fracked natural gas does not achieve energy independence. The EMA project does not disclose the fact that Dominion plans to export gas traveling through Loudoun. For the Cove Point LNG Export Facility now under construction in Lusby, MD, Dominion’s permit application Docket No. CP13-113-000 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC, specifies that: “gas received at the Loudoun M&R site will flow directly to the Pleasant Valley site, where the gas will be compressed at the Pleasant Valley Compressor Station for further downstream transportation to the Cove Point Terminal.”
Residents and supervisors are urged to attend Dominion’s Open House, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Sycolin Creek Elementary School, 21100 Evergreen Mills Road near Leesburg. Dominion owes Loudoun residents answers to many questions including, but not limited to:
- What percentage of natural gas passing through the Loudoun M and R site will be exported at the Cove Point LNG export terminal?
- What impact will exporting natural gas have on domestic natural gas prices and supplies?
- Other communities report human health impacts from exposure to natural gas/methane. Since methane will be released by routine venting/blow-downs and fugitive emissions leakage, what is the safe level of exposure?
- When safe levels are exceeded, how will Dominion respond?
- At what concentration of does methane in downwind air become explosive?
- Is there downwind monitoring of methane concentration? If so, who monitors and to whom is the data reported?
- Compressor stations have lowered the property values of the surrounding residential communities in other regions. What reduction in Loudoun home value should be anticipated with the proposed compression increase?
Loudoun, show up. It’s important.
Natalie Pien, Leesburg