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Maryland Ordered to Decide on Dominion Facility Permit

A Dominion Resources Inc. unit’s application for an air quality permit for a natural-gas compressor station must be evaluated by a Maryland state agency, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled.

The Maryland Department of the Environment should disclose valid zoning objections by local governments involved in the case or process the application, Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith wrote for a three-judge panel in an opinion issued today.

“The department must either identify one or more ‘applicable’ (that is, not pre-empted) zoning or land use requirements with which Dominion has not demonstrated compliance, or it must process Dominion’s application for an air quality permit,” Griffith wrote.

The town of Myersville, Maryland, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Washington, last August denied Dominion Transmission Inc.’s zoning application for the compressor station as a nuisance that was contrary to the local development plan.

Dominion needed the town’s zoning approval before the permit application could be evaluated, according state arguments cited in Griffith’s ruling.

Dominion argued that a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the facility granted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission trumped local objections.

Under Review

“We are confident we will qualify for a permit,” Dan Donovan, a Dominion Transmission spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

Jay Apperson, a spokesman for the Maryland environmental agency, said in an e-mail that the decision is under review. He declined to comment further.

The compressor station is part of a $113 million natural gas storage and transportation project that is intended to supply gas to Washington Gas Light Co. and Exelon Corp.’s Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., according to Donovan.

The case is Dominion Transmission Inc. v. Summers, 13-1019, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).

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