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Dominion Gets OK To Expand Natural Gas Exports

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Energy Department on Wednesday gave Dominion Resources permission to export liquefied natural gas from its southern Maryland terminal to countries that don’t have free trade agreements with the United States.

The department said that Richmond, Va.-based Dominion has received conditional approval to expand exports of natural gas from its Cove Point terminal in Calvert County, Md. Dominion had previously been authorized to export the fuel only to countries that have free trade agreements.

The department says Dominion is now conditionally authorized to export up to 770 million cubic feet of natural gas a day over a 20-year period.

Dominion and other energy companies see a lucrative overseas market for U.S. natural gas, which is cheaper than natural gas in Europe and Asia.

Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion chairman, president and CEO, called the announcement “good news on many fronts, including the thousands of jobs that will be created, the boost in government revenues that will result, and the support it provides to allied nations.”

But some environmental groups criticized the decision. Mike Tidwell is director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. He said, “The U.S Department of Energy does not speak for the Marylanders who would pay the price of exporting fracked gas from Cove Point.” He said his group will challenge Dominion’s efforts to obtain federal and state permits for the project.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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