Rep. Lynch And Senators Warren And Markey Urge Enbridge To Reconsider Plan To Build Compressor Station In Weymouth

Oct 15, 2019 Issues: Energy & Environment

Boston, MA - Last week Representative Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) and United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to Al Monaco, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enbridge Inc. (formerly Spectra Energy), urging the company to reconsider their proposal to construct a compressor station in Weymouth, Massachusetts, as part of the Atlantic Bridge project.  The location which Enbridge intends to locate the compressor station is a densely populated coastal area with an estimated 3,200 people per square mile, and within a short distance of nearly one thousand homes and dozens of schools with a combined enrollment of approximately 13,200 children.  The proposed area for the Enbridge compressor station also has “statistically higher rates of cancer, pediatric asthma and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases” in Massachusetts, and the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility notes that “the proposed compressor station is likely to worsen the health and safety of this already at-risk community.” 

“Given the broad opposition to building the compressor station at the proposed location, we strongly urge you to heed the concerns of these state and local officials and experts, and immediately seek an alternative for this project that does not involve siting a compressor station in the middle of a community that rejects it as unnecessary and dangerous,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.  “Although your company has received approval from federal and state agencies and is currently awaiting remaining permits, we urge you to listen to those in the communities that would be most directly affected by the building of a compressor station in North Weymouth and reconsider this project.”

In June, Representative Lynch hosted a listening session with the Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to examine the serious public safety issues relating to the construction and operation of the proposed compressor station.  Local and state officials joined residents from Weymouth and surrounding communities in expressing their grave concerns to the regional PHMSA officials, imploring them to halt the proposed site from being built by any means necessary. 

Earlier this year Representative Lynch introduced H.R. 2152, the Pipeline and Compressor Safety Verification Act of 2019, to strengthen public health and safety protections during the process by which the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decides whether to grant approval to natural gas systems, such as the proposed Weymouth Compressor Station and West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline.  FERC certificates are needed to authorize the approval and operation of pipelines and compressor stations, and H.R. 2152 would add the requirement that the Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security of Massachusetts, the State Fire Marshal for Massachusetts and the Director of the Massachusetts Pipeline Safety Division sign off on the certificate, stating the project would not pose a danger to surrounding residential communities in order to allow FERC to grant a license to proceed.

Additionally, Senators Markey and Warren announced plans to introduce the Community Outreach, Maintenance, and Preservation by Restricting Export Stations from Subverting Our Regulations (COMPRESSOR) Act, legislation that would prohibit construction of any natural gas compressor station, such as the proposed facility in Weymouth, if it is part of a project that would lead to the export of natural gas or facilitate the export of natural gas, as determined by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 

You can read the letter here.