Challenging A Chesapeake Bay Gas Export Terminal

The Chesapeake Bay ecosystem is a large and complex estuary that is under threat from a proposed export terminal that will send fracked gas to foreign markets, increasing ship traffic and further exacerbating climate change.



Moneen Nasmith

Regional Office / Program

Case Overview

Dominion Cove Point is a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal proposed for the Chesapeake Bay. The proposed terminal will be the only LNG export facility on the east coast, providing foreign markets with access to natural gas from the Marcellus Shale, which lies beneath New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, western Maryland, Shenandoah Valley Virginia and West Virginia. Demands for natural gas exports will mean more dangerous fracking, especially in Pennsylvania, as well as more pollution of the communities’ air and water and destruction of their land.

In addition to these undesirable environmental impacts, the facility will have consequences for the sensitive estuary ecology of the Chesapeake Bay itself. Major concerns include a substantial increase in ship traffic of huge—and potentially explosive—LNG tankers on the Bay and at Cove Point, as well as the risks posed by dumping billions of gallons of ballast water into this large and complex estuary, made up of a network of rivers, wetlands, and forests.

Once in full operation, Dominion Cove Point will also emit thousands of tons of dangerous air pollutants and millions of tons of greenhouse gases that will only add to increased climate disruption. Earthjustice is challenging the facility on behalf of a coalition of local, regional and national groups.

The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Patuxent River is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. (Photo courtesy of John H. Gray)

Case Updates

May 7, 2015 Press Release

Groups Appeal Federal Approval of Cove Point LNG Export Facility

Lawsuit charges that regulators illegally ignored the project’s impact on fracking, climate change, and the Chesapeake Bay

Opponents of the Dominion Resources project rally in Baltimore, MD.
October 16, 2014 Press Release

In First Step of Legal Battle, Groups Challenge Cove Point LNG Export Project’s Federal Approval

Environmental and community advocates file legal papers in controversial project

October 15, 2014 document

Cove Point: Motion for a Stay

Motion for a stay, filed with FERC to halt further construction of the Dominion Cove Point LNG project