Introduction To 'Charles Station'
As background, the natural gas industry relies on an extensive network of inter- and intrastate pipelines. A crucial component of this network is the compressor station. Pipelines transporting natural gas require pressure to keep the gas moving. This pressure is provided by compressors, which are powered by electric motors or by natural gas or diesel fired engines that compress or squeeze incoming gas and push it out at a higher pressure. They also scrub the gas of any liquids or solids that may have accumulated through transport. Compressor stations are facilities that house the compressors. They are built every 50 to 100 miles along the length of a transmission pipeline to boost the system pressure to keep the gas flowing. According to Dominion, the Charles Station compressor would include “two natural gas-powered turbines totaling approximately 24,370 horsepower of compression”, natural gas, and two 50-foot exhaust stacks.
Despite Dominion Cove Point LNG’s claims that the gas pressurized at this proposed facility is needed to serve southern Maryland residents and businesses, evidence indicates that the Cove Point Liquefaction facility in Calvert County for overseas “Eastern” Asian markets is the more likely destination. Take a look at the map (see left) published by Dominion Cove Point LNG, as part of a permit application, which shows its destination as Cove Point. There is no established need for Maryland residents to receive the gas proposed to pass through Charles Station. Many houses in largely rural Southern Maryland do not have access to natural gas lines. The Brandywine power plant slated to receive the gas is not fully permitted, and its construction is listed as “suspended.” Dominion’s Annual report specifically cites Japan and India as the target markets.
If built, this pipeline compressor station will change our way of life in this community. It will produce dangerous emissions, air pollution, noise impacts, degradation of our wetlands, increased possibility of catastrophic fire, and will ultimately lead to opening this beautiful area of preservation to industrial use.
Additional Information and Resources
Dominion Cove Point LNG's Proposed
Pipeline Compressor Station
Although the State of Maryland banned the practice known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in 2017, fracking infrastructure and the natural gas industry remain active throughout the state. Of local concern is the proposal by Dominion Cove Point LNG, as part of its Eastern Market Access Project, to build Charles Station, a natural gas pipeline compressor station at 6855 Barry’s Hill Road.
This location, just over the Prince George’s County line in Charles County, is immediately adjacent to the scenic easement area of Piscataway National Park and within a Rural Conservation District of Charles County.