The project faces several regulatory hurdles and legal challenges. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will release its environmental assessment of the proposed project Thursday, kicking off a 30-day public comment period. FERC already has committed to holding a public hearing about the proposal during that period.
Mr. Frederick expects the commission to authorize the project in July. The Department of Energy approved the plan in September.
“We expected to have FERC authorization before now,” he said.
But the Cove Point plan has become a target of environmental groups that believe the project will disrupt marine wildlife, add more greenhouse gas emissions, increase pollution in the Chesapeake Bay community and amplify fracking in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays.
Dominion is involved in a dispute — and a civil lawsuit — with the Sierra Club and its Maryland chapter over Sierra’s assertion that Dominion is not authorized to export natural gas on that site, according to terms of a 1972 environmental protection agreement that Sierra struck with facility’s original owners. Dominion sued, and a local judge and an appellate judge both have sided with Dominion in the matter.
The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has received the case.