BALTIMORE (AP) _ A federal court has refused to halt construction of a liquefied natural gas export facility in southern Maryland while it weighs a legal challenge to the project’s approval.

The Baltimore Sun reports ( ) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied an emergency motion for a construction stay on the Dominion Cove Point LNG project, saying opponents had not met the strict legal requirements for such action.

Environmental and local citizen groups had asked the court to stop construction while their lawsuit proceeds over the Dominion facility’s approval last year by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They say that local residents are suffering from dust, noise and heavy truck traffic related to the work.

The commission concluded in September that the $3.8 billion project poses no significant risks to nearby residents’ safety and no major environmental effects.

Dominion expects the construction to be completed by 2017.