In the wake of new court ruling, Dominion Resources Inc. can export liquified natural gas from a Maryland port.
Calvert County Circuit Judge James Salmon made the ruling on Friday.
He said the company's 2005 agreement with the Sierra Club allows such exports from Cove Point, Md.
"The agreement specifically allows for 'delivery by pipeline of LNG from the LNG terminal site,'" Salmon said in his 10-page ruling. "This plainly allows the tankers at the pier to receive LNG from the terminal site."
The eco-group said Dominion's export plan would encourage hydraulic fracturing or fracking in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other states.
It had sued in the 1970s to block construction of the facility and settled the case in exchange for the right to approve any expansion plans.
Converting the Cove Point facility for exports is projected to cost $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion.
The plan is to have the facility running by 2017.
It would handle about 750 million cubic feet a day.
The facility was built to handle LNG imports to the United States.
Dominion still needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.