Maryland Quakers Oppose Cove Point Facility Expansion

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At a meeting for worship with a concern for business, held at Baltimore-Homewood Friends Meeting on 3/9/2014, Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting (CQM) of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) approved the following minute:

Minute to Oppose the Expansion of the
Cove Point Natural Gas Facility

Chesapeake Quarterly Meeting is a gathering of Friends (also known as Quakers) from nine local Meetings in Maryland ranging in location from Harford and Baltimore Counties in the north through Baltimore City and Howard County to Montgomery and Calvert Counties in the south.  As Friends, we believe that we have a moral and spiritual responsibility to examine, maintain, and improve our relationship with Nature.

The proposed expansion of the Cove Point natural gas facility in Calvert County to include a natural gas liquefaction plant and export terminal would have major detrimental environmental consequences if approved and built.  The construction and operation of this facility will drive a dramatic increase in the extraction and transportation of natural gas through a process dangerous to the environment and to human health known as “fracking” or hydrofracturing.  The power plant required to process natural gas to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) will be the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Maryland.  Approval for this project will also divert Maryland from a necessary focus on developing clean, sustainable, and renewable energy sources.

In this year when important legislation is being considered and public decisions will be made related to this issue, we call upon Friends, individually and collectively, to commit to the following action steps:

  • Consider the minute of Patuxent Friends Meeting (http://goo.gl/ftLgJF) raising concerns and offering suggestions to the Maryland Public Service Commission which is considering whether to approve the Cove Point project;
  • Join with Friends Meetings in Maryland and many other individuals and organizations to oppose the Cove Point Natural Gas Liquefaction and Transport Project in legislative and public forums;
  • Join with Friends Meetings in Maryland and many other individuals and organizations in supporting an extension to the Moratorium on Hydro-fracturing in Maryland and increased funding to study whether to allow “fracking” for natural gas in Maryland; and
  • Support the development, availability, and expansion of clean and sustainable sources of energy in Maryland.

We have also formed an ad hoc working group to carry this work forward. Please share your responses using our contact form.

When Quakers make decisions together, such as approving this minute, we do not vote. We make our decisions in worship, and we know we have a decision only when we reach unity, that is, when there is no dissent. Moreover, we do not view our task as finding a decision we can all agree on; rather we are trying to discern what God is calling us to do.

In the process of considering this minute, we reviewed minutes relating to fracking and climate change that had been approved by six of our constituent Meetings:

Also, to start our day-long gathering, our hosts provided an informational program about fracking and the Cove Point plant that invited us to consider it as a spiritual concern.  The presenters shared much useful information, much of which can be found on the post announcing that program (http://goo.gl/znQb3b).

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