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Court says “NO-GO” to Washing Gas on LNG Plant; “Occupy” comes to Armenia; Why Rick Santorum scares me.

March 12, 2012

San Bruno, CA in September 2010, after a major natural gas transmission line explodes. Eight residents were killed.

BIG WIN FOR CHILLUM ROAD RESIDENTS:  The residents of the Chillum Road, Avondale community in Hyattsville, MD. have just scored big. The United States District Court for the District of Maryland, last week, threw out Washington Gas’s attempt to circumvent Prince George’s County zoning ordinance that has prevented WG from building its long sought after liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility. For decades thousands of community members have lived within hundreds of feet of WG’s Chillum Road facility — the hub for several major natural gas transmission lines — lines that are aging and obsolete. These are the type of high pressure transmission lines that have blown up in San Bruno, CA (8 dead) and Allentown, PA (5 dead) with scores of people injured and dozens of homes destroyed.  Residents have complained about odors from gas lines for many years. For background go to this link.

Washington Gas President Vincent Ammann; Source; Washington Gas Website

Washington Gas — No limits to the quest for profits: Despite major opposition by the community and County, Washington Gas has persisted in its attempt to turn its Chillum Road site into a major profit zone. Never mind that the LNG plant site is located within a stone’s throw of thousands of  families, a medical facility for seniors, and a Metro station.

WG’s property on Chillum Road, is zoned open land; but Prince George’s Co. gave the company a special exemption for their distribution station /transmission line hub. Based on citizen activism, the County has refused to allow WG to build it’s LNG facility. WG then sued the County, saying that state and federal laws preempt the county’s zoning authority. However, on March 9, the US District Court denied WG’s claims and ruled in favor of the County. (Although WG, has some legal options left, it’s plan has suffered a major setback.)

Congratulations to the Avondale Park community, and the Prince George’s County District Council for their their hard work and persistence. And a special toast to Imani Kazana for her untiring leadership in the struggle to keep the community safe.

OCCUPY COMES TO ARMENIA:  In our previous post, we touted Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, as  a great and beautiful place to visit. I love the city’s numerous parks and squares, replete with gardens, fountains, wonderful statues and monuments, and lots of people enjoying themselves in the  October sun. And when the haze isn’t too bad you can see the famed, snow-peaked Mt. Ararat (Noah’s landing place) The streets are lined with trees, thanks to the Armenia Tree Project and other advocates of green. The sidewalks are broad with many plantings.

But now the beautiful parks of Yerevan face the threat of development. The threat — commercial kiosks, you know the little boxes that sell film, phone cards, candy, T-shirts, and assorted chotchkies. You can clearly see from the following photo why kiosks will despoil an urban park. However, residents, visitors and environmentalists happen to love their parks and want to keep them green. So to the rescue comes the occupiers! For more click here. 

The author is a proud member of the Armenian Environmental Network Advisory Board.

The first set of kiosks go up in Mashtots Park, Yerevan. More to come?

WHY RICK SANTORUM IS SCARY: I am always nervous when people believe (and broadcast) that their own faith as “The True Faith” and cast aspersions about the faith of others. As a Jew, I am especially sensitive. As a kid some of my neighbors told me that I would surely wind up in Hell because I didn’t believe that Christ was the Messiah. (I hadn’t formed any belief’s at the time.) That’s kind of  scary to an eight year old. That kind of stuff is no longer scary because I am comfortable in my own spirituality and don’t believe in Hell  (except as a literary device, ala George Bernard Shaw).

What does scare me is a guy who is a serious contender for his party’s Presidential nomination feels no qualms about calling into question the religious faith of others — including that of the President of the United States. To read the rest click here.



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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    March 12, 2012 7:19 pm

    Santorum scares me and I’m fearless!!!
    I am hopefully confident that he has let most sane individuals know that he is out of his gourd. Or , as they say, “only one oar in the water”

    glad you are back, Doc.

    • Henry S. Cole, Ph.D. permalink*
      March 13, 2012 8:03 pm

      Thanks, Fearless Laura!

  2. March 12, 2012 6:59 pm

    Faith is a personal thing and as such should remain to oneself. That’s how I see it. My wife is very spiritual, while I’m as close to Atheistic as one can get without “faith” that there is certainly nothing.

    I like the idea of open spaces being used for market places, meeting places and cafes, but I understand what’s on the cards in Armenia is more tacky for the tourist buck. We create sprawl because we make urban spaces in which people like the services, but don’t like the aesthetics. While we can afford personal vehicles, we will visit the urban space and then leave to suburb. CBD’s that are open, green and quieter with fresh air will go a long way in reducing the market for sprawl.

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