A number of environmental groups have expressed opposition to Dominion's proposed export liquefaction facility at its existing LNG import terminal at Cove Point, but the truth is that these critics misperceive the facts or are misrepresenting the project's environmental impact while severely undercounting its economic benefits ("Cove Point project opponents raise safety concerns," Jan. 26).

Cove Point presents an incredible opportunity to create thousands of jobs here in Maryland. These are not low-wage, low-skill jobs either. These are good-paying jobs with benefits in industries with real opportunities for growth. Because Dominion has signed a project labor agreement, these jobs will go to workers here in Maryland and result in increased training and career opportunities for local residents, including veterans, women and minorities.

During the construction phase, there will be between 2,700 and 3,400 jobs created in Calvert County alone, plus another thousand jobs generated throughout the state. Following construction, the project will support an estimated 14,500 permanent jobs locally and nationally.

In addition to thousands of new jobs adding value to the local economy, benefits from exports and upstream gas production could include a total of $22 billion in new revenues for federal, state and local governments, $9.8 billion in landowner royalty income and up to a $40 million annual increase in local property tax revenues in Calvert County.

Our nation has vast reserves of natural gas. Sending this clean-burning fuel to the world market will not only create thousands of jobs and provide a major boost to our economy, but it will also help decrease global greenhouse gas emissions and promote cleaner, healthier air by diversifying energy portfolios in countries dependent solely on oil and coal for power generation.

Opponents argue that Cove Point will harm the local environment, but these claims are highly exaggerated. The project will have the smallest environmental footprint for any facility of its kind. It will incorporate the latest in energy-efficient technologies and sustainable practices, including using waste heat to generate its electricity. In addition to waste water recycling and increased safety and security measures, Dominion's conservation management plan of Cove Point's 1,000 acres around the terminal will ensure the area remains untouched as a nature preserve.

In order to remain competitive in this increasingly complex global energy market, we need to embrace critical projects like Cove Point. This particular project presents an important opportunity for Maryland residents to become part of a world-class American workforce in energy production and manufacturing. It's an opportunity we should seize, not waste.

Brad Karbowsky, Prince Frederick

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