November 20, 2019

Senators Warren and Markey Urge Regulators to Reassess FERC Certificate for Weymouth Compressor Station as Enbridge Rushes to Begin Construction

Washington, DC – Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey yesterday called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reject the recently-filed request for a Notice to Proceed on the construction of the Weymouth Compressor Station and reopen the decision to approve the project.
In 2017, FERC issued a certificate for the project to move forward based on contracts from five local distribution companies, two manufacturing companies, and a municipal utility. But since then, both National Grid and Eversource have stated that they do not need the Weymouth compressor to fulfill customer energy needs and New England NG Supply Limited has withdrawn from the project. 
A subsidiary of Enbridge, Canada’s largest pipeline operator, is currently proposing to build and operate the natural gas compressor station as part of its Atlantic Bridge gas project, which is intended to send natural gas through Massachusetts and export it out to Canada. The proposal has been vigorously opposed by state and local officials, community residents, and other stakeholders, including all state legislators representing the city. 
“The construction and operation of this facility would cause significant residual adverse effects in the Weymouth community, and we urge FERC to acknowledge in its review of the needs assessment that this facility is unjustifiable and unneeded by natural gas customers,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.
Last month, the Senators introduced legislation that would block construction of any compressor station that would be built as part of a pipeline project meant to export natural gas abroad. Senators Warren, Markey and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08) also sent a letter to Enbridge Inc. expressing serious concerns about the company’s proposal:
Weymouth, Massachusetts is densely populated, with 3,100 people per square mile. The proposed 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 proposed 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.