Chesapeake Bay LNG Export Terminal: Opposition Concerned for Ecology and Economy
A coalition of local, regional and national groups are objecting to the environmental impacts posed by the proposed Dominion Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal on the Chesapeake Bay, saying the project would hurt the Bay’s economy and ecology, increase air pollution and hasten fracking and drilling in neighboring states.
The group—Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Patuxent Riverkeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper—filed public comments and a motion to intervene in the proceedings late Friday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission calling on the agency to conduct a thorough environmental review, or prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, of the project.
The coalition argues the development of this terminal in Lusby, MD would result in major damage to the Chesapeake Bay, coastal forests and the local economy, which currently support more than a trillion dollars in economic activity from the seafood and tourism industries.
“The communities that surround the Chesapeake depend on the Bay and its rivers for our food, livelihood and way of life,” said Robin Broder, vice president of Potomac Riverkeeper. “It’s unthinkable that federal officials would rubber stamp this project without a careful look at how our Bay and upstream communities and natural resources will be affected by increased fracking for natural gas.”
Major concerns include a substantial increase in ship traffic of huge—and potentially explosive—LNG tankers on the Bay and to Cove Point, as well as the risks posed by dumping billions of gallons of wastewater into this large and complex estuary, made up of a network of rivers, wetlands and forests.
“Instead of rushing to approve this risky project, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission needs to take a close look at all the details – particularly when public health and the regional economy is at stake,” said Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg.
The project will require construction of an additional compressor station in the Elklick Diabase Flatwoods Conservation site, which is home to rare species of plants, animals and migratory birds. It also will require a huge construction site on the Patuxent River next to the historic Solomons Island, known for its beautiful waterfront.
“It is appalling that only the short range economic impacts from the expansion of this facility have been widely promoted with almost no attention paid to the construction and other long-term environmental impacts on local water quality or on the quality of life for the people of Calvert County,” said Patuxent Riverkeeper Frederick Tutman. “We are entitled to full review and disclosure of these negative effects in their totality.”
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 in these states, as well as more pollution of the communities' air and water and destruction of their land.
“Gas companies come to our local communities with a big straw and suck out our resources, leaving big scars on our landscape and community. These communities agree to this intrusion largely in the name of patriotism because they want energy independence for the United States," said Jeff Kelble of Shenandoah Riverkeeper.
"But liquefying and selling our precious gas resource to foreign gas companies will further drive development and undermine our national security, while doing nothing to secure energy independence. It's double-timing U.S. citizens! The only ones who stand to benefit from this project are the gas companies. And everyone else—from fishermen in the Shenandoah to residents of towns living downstream of gas fields—will suffer.”
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.
“The damage that this project would bring to the Maryland coast, communities in states like Pennsylvania and the American public make it clear that exporting liquefied natural gas is bad news for public health, the environment and our climate,” said Sierra Club Beyond Natural Gas Campaign Director Deb Nardone. “The Sierra Club does not support LNG exports from Cove Point, and we will continue to legally fight all efforts by Dominion to try and place profits over people."
“LNG facilities, like the one proposed for Cove Point, are intended to ship natural gas extracted in this country off to foreign lands," said Michael Helfrich of Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper.
"The result is that gas drillers will make more money, while natural gas prices increase for Americans. This shale gas 'gold rush' will ravage communities and the environment with untold miles of new pipelines and infrastructure through the Susquehanna Watershed. It may be a win for the gas drillers, but it throws the idea of American energy independence out the window.”
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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