US Department of Energy (DoE) has approved the export of domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Dominion Resources' Cove Point terminal in Maryland to countries who have not signed free trade agreement (FTA) with it.
Dominion Resources received this as a final approval, following a thorough review of the firm's applications by the energy department.
The authorisation enables the company to export up to 0.77 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas from the Cove Point LNG and export terminal over a duration of 20 years.
Expected to cost around $3.8bn, the export project will generate to construction jobs in the country and will provide $40m to Calvert County as yearly tax revenue.
The Cove Point LNG project is likely to transport 860,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day from the existing pipeline interconnects near the west end of Cove Point Pipeline to the Cove Point terminal.
Environmentalist groups have sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over the authorisation. The lawsuit in the federal appeals court for the D.C. Circuit alleges that the approval was granted without detailed environmental reviews.
The groups have expressed concern that the project will encourage hydraulic fracturing, which in turn will lead to air, water and climate pollution.
Chesapeake Climate Action Network director Mike Tidwell said, "After months of delay, we will finally get our day in court to challenge the fundamentally flawed approval of Dominion's climate- and community-wrecking project.
"Time and again, FERC has shown a blatant disregard for the health and safety of people and the climate and, we believe, the law.
"Tragically, FERC's foot-dragging has allowed Dominion bulldozers to start construction before Calvert County residents had legal recourse to challenge the agency's decision."