Maryland Approves Wetlands Permit, Despite Environmentalists' Concerns

July 24, 2014

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and the two other members of the state Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to give Dominion Resources a tidal wetlands license, one more incremental approval needed by the power company as it aims to build a liquefied natural gas export facility in Calvert County.

In doing so, the governor dashed the hopes of a small group of environmentalists who have been passionately fighting the proposed facility, which is expected to receive final federal approval this summer.

O’Malley was brusque in doing so. The Democrat — who considers himself a dedicated environmentalist and is weighing a White House run in 2016 — is typically spirited and engaged during these often-long meetings, asking questions, cracking jokes and, at least once, taking a moment to share a piece of poetry. But on Wednesday, he was terse and often lacked patience as the meeting went over the two hours he had allotted.

O’Malley opened the meeting by saying that he has often seen simple permits take on “cosmic” importance because they are tangentially connected to a larger, more controversial issue.

“This is one of those days,” he said without smiling.

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