LUSBY, MD. A work site on the Cove Point LNG plant property was under siege by environmental anarchists with two women climbing large cranes resulting in their arrests.
Calvert County Sheriff’s Capt. Todd Ireland reports that on February 3, 2015 at approximately 5:59 am, Calvert Deputy First Class Robert Brady responded to Off Site Area “B” of the Dominion LNG project, located on the west side of Cove point Road and Route 4 for the report of trespassers.
Deputy Brady found that two unknown females were in the process of climbing a crane that was unoccupied.
Capt. Ireland reports that Deputy Brady and Sergeant Vladimir Bortchevsky of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office located a female attempting to climb the crane. Deputies identified her as Heather Doyle, 31, of Washington D.C. Doyle had climbing gear and was asked to desist. Doyle refused to comply and was arrested for trespassing and failure to obey a lawful order.
Police say that while Doyle was standing next to a Calvert County Sheriff’s Office marked patrol vehicle awaiting transport to the Calvert County Detention Center, she intentionally damaged the paint on the vehicle by scraping the handcuffs she was wearing in a manner that was gouging into the vehicle’s paint. Doyle was charged with destruction of property in addition for damaging the vehicle’s paint.
A second person identified as Carling Sothoron, 28, of Baltimore Maryland was also equipped with climbing equipment and banners objecting to Fracking. Sothoron was asked to climb down off of the crane and was told that she was putting herself and officers in a dangerous situation. Deputy First Class Stephen Esposito climbed the crane, using climbing gear. Dfc. Esposito ensured that Sothoron was secured to the crane. Dave Marco from Kiewit construction responded to the scene.
Ireland said that Marco is the Labor Relations and Security Safety Manager of this among other construction sites.
After consultation with Marco and ensuring the safety of both Sothoron and Dfc. Esposito, the crane boom was lowered and Sothoron was apprehended and charged with trespassing and failure to obey a lawful order from Law Enforcement. Both Sothoron and Doyle are currently being held at the Calvert County Detention Center awaiting a hearing before the District Court Commissioner.
Early this morning, Maryland teacher Carling Sothoron climbed a 150-foot-tall crane at a construction site in Lusby, Maryland, that is part of the Dominion Cove Point liquefied natural gas export terminal project. She hung a banner reading “Dominion get out. Don’t frack Maryland. No gas exports. Save Cove Point.” Sothoron is part of Stopping Extraction and Exports Destruction (SEED), an umbrella group of mid-Atlantic activists fighting dirty energy projects. She remains on the crane. Heather Doyle, another SEED activist who stayed at the bottom of the crane to provide assistance to Sothoron, has been detained by law enforcement.
”The Dominion Cove Point LNG project is negatively impacting the environment and community in Lusby, Maryland. We are already seeing that it will directly lead to massive expansion of natural gas drilling and infrastructure throughout the mid-Atlantic region, from the coast to the Appalachian Mountains. I’m taking direct action today because I’m not willing to let the natural gas industry destroy Maryland, my home,” said Sothoron.
Virginia-based Dominion Resources’s $3.8 billion Cove Point LNG export terminal would bring more than a billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from Appalachia, liquefy it, and ship it to Asia. The project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in September.
The site at which the crane is located, referred to in FERC documentation of the project as “Offsite Area A,” consists of 179.4 acres of land located on Maryland Route 2/4 about a little more than a mile west of the Cove Point terminal. Made up of 100 acres owned by Dominion and 79.4 acres leased from Calvert County, the site was undeveloped and covered with trees prior to the beginning of construction. Dominion plans to clear more than half of the site to provide space for equipment storage, warehouse space, and parking for 1,700 worker vehicles. Work began immediately after FERC approved the project and a large cleared area is already visible from the road.
Of the five natural gas export terminals approved by federal regulators to date, Dominion’s facility is located closest to the Marcellus Shale, a porous rock formation containing natural gas (methane) that underlies parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. Extracting the gas requires the use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” A recent analysis of peer-reviewed studies showed that most have found evidence that fracking causes harm to public health and environmental health.
“I’m doing this for my homies in the Marcellus shale and the people fighting the natural gas industry in places like Myersville,” Doyle said. The recent surge in natural gas production resulting from the widespread use of fracking has led to a glut in the market and a dramatic drop in prices in the last few years. Exporting natural gas would boost its price, stimulating increased drilling and production. In addition to export terminals, this will require hundreds of miles of pipeline and other infrastructure. Despite strong community and local government opposition, Dominion recently completed a compressor station in the small town of Myersville in central Maryland to move natural gas along its interstate pipeline.