Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Baltimore County Ordinance Designed to Halt Sparrows Point LNG Terminal Project

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled yesterday that Baltimore County’s zoning ordinance prohibiting the siting of LNG terminals in the County’s Chesapeake Bay Critical Area is preempted by the Natural Gas Act (NGA), overturning a June 22, 2007 district court decision.  Specifically, the 4th Circuit found that the County never sent the ordinance to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for approval, as required by the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. As a result, the ordinance was not part of the State of Maryland’s Coastal Zone Management Plan and instead remained a local zoning ordinance, which is preempted by the federal NGA. The Circuit Court’s decision can be found here.

The Baltimore Sun today reports that a spokesperson for Baltimore County Executive, James Smith, Jr., said that  the county plans to continue opposing Sparrows Point and is reviewing the decision to decide whether to appeal.

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