Boston, MA – Last week, U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08) and Massachusetts Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) requesting they place a stay on construction at the Weymouth compression station site and send inspectors to determine whether the project is complying with its official plans and protocols. On November 27, 2019, FERC granted permission for Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC, a subsidiary of Spectra Energy Corporation, permission to proceed with the Compressor station’s construction despite strong local opposition. In their letter, the Massachusetts lawmakers highlight that FERC has both the authority and the imperative to guarantee public safety and halt construction until on-site inspections can be performed. Local residents have reported concerns about changes in traffic patterns for construction vehicles, the soil removal process, and the height necessary for the project.
“An on-site FERC inspection would help either confirm or allay concerns that misconduct is taking place,” the Massachusetts lawmakers wrote in their letter to FERC. “In the event that plans are not being followed, a stay on construction would ensure that no additional damage is done until FERC reviews operations and issues any necessary orders for cooperation.”
Weymouth, Massachusetts is densely populated, with 3,100 people per square mile. The site for the new gas compressor, which FERC approved in 2017, is within a half-mile of more than 960 homes and 38 educational facilities, and approximately 3,100 children live within one mile, and 13,200 go to school within three miles of the proposed site. Other key concerns with the compressor site include air quality – residents have higher-than-average rates of cancer, asthma, respiratory diseases – and environmental justice, as Weymouth includes two state-designated environmental justice communities. Senators Warren and Markey, and Rep. Lynch previously sent a letter to Enbridge Inc. expressing serious concerns about the Enbridge’s proposal.