Description: Challenge to approval of power plant for Dominion Cove Point natural gas liquefaction facility.
Accokeek, Mattawoman, Piscataway Creeks Communities Council, Inc. v. Public Service Commission of Maryland
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 12/16/2016 Opinion Download Opinion issued affirming PSC approval. Maryland High Court Said Condition for Power Plant Approval Requiring Donation to Clean Energy Fund Was Not Unauthorized Tax. The Maryland Court of Appeals upheld the Maryland Public Service Commission’s (PSC’s) approval for an electric generating station intended to power the Dominion Cove Point natural gas liquefaction facility. Like the trial court and the Court of Special Appeals, the Court of Appeals rejected the argument that a condition of approval requiring a $40-million contribution to a State fund for investing in projects—including projects involving renewable and clean energy resources, greenhouse gas reduction or mitigation programs, cost-efficiency and conservation programs, or demand response programs—was not an unauthorized tax. After noting that the PSC was required by law to consider and weigh positive economic or environmental impact against negative impacts, the Court of Appeals found that the condition was “particular to that end” and “not for the primary purpose of raising revenue.” Instead, the condition was a “primarily regulatory” exaction imposed to offset the impact of emissions of pollutants.
Accokeek, Mattawoman, Piscataway Creeks Communities Council, Inc. v. Maryland Public Service Commission
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 03/30/2016 Opinion Download Opinion issued for publication. 02/16/2016 Opinion Download Commission decision affirmed. Maryland Court Upheld Approval of Power Plant for Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas Facility. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed the Maryland Public Service Commission’s (PSC’s) approval of an electric generating station intended to power the Dominion Cove Point natural gas liquefaction facility. An environmental organization unsuccessfully argued that the PSC’s requirement that the project’s sponsor contribute $40 million to the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF)—which finances investments in energy efficiency and conservation programs, renewable energy resources, low-income energy assistance, and other purposes—was an impermissible tax. The court said that the purpose of requiring the contribution to SEIF was to offset “societal harms” identified by the PSC, including increased carbon emissions and use of a limited supply of industrial greenhouse gas emission allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.