Baltimore County Zoning Law Deemed Unenforceable by Federal Judge

A federal judge in Maryland yesterday ruled that a Baltimore County zoning law that prevents the construction of LNG terminals within five miles of a residential area is unenforceable. The zoning law would have effectively blocked the development of AES’ proposed Sparrows Point LNG terminal in Dundalk, Md. In his opinion, Judge Richard D. Bennett noted that Congress granted exclusive jurisdiction over the siting of LNG facilities to FERC in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  Bennett wrote “a local government may not exercise veto power over this nationwide process by local zoning legislation.”

In a related matter, the Baltimore County Council last week introduced legislation that would amend the zoning regulations to bar the development of LNG terminals in environmentally sensitive coastal regions. The amendment is scheduled for a vote on Feb. 5.  The Baltimore Sun provides coverage.

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