October 09, 2019

Warren, Markey, Lynch Urge Enbridge to Reconsider Plan to Build Compressor Station in Weymouth

Community Advocates, Local and State Officials Representing Weymouth Overwhelmingly Opposed to Project

Letter Follows Markey-Warren Bill to Block Construction of Projects Leading to Export of Natural Gas Overseas

Text of the Letter (PDF)

Boston, MA - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with Representative Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08), sent a letter to Al Monaco, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enbridge Inc., expressing serious concerns about the company's proposal to construct a compressor station in Weymouth, Massachusetts, as part of the Atlantic Bridge project. The lawmakers' letter follows the announcement of legislation by Senators Markey and Warren that would block construction of any compressor station built as part of a pipeline project to export natural gas.

Enbridge intends to locate a compressor station in Weymouth-a densely populated coastal area with an estimated 3,200 people per square mile-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." Additionally, the station's proposed location is less than one tenth of a mile from a sewage pump and water treatment facility operated by the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority.

Noting that the plan has been met with strong opposition from state and local officials, community residents, and other stakeholders, including all state legislators representing the city, the lawmakers urged Enbridge to reconsider its decision to locate the compressor station in Weymouth and pressed the company to abandon the plan for a compressor station in Massachusetts in order to facilitate Canadian gas exports.

"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."

This week, 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).

In 2017, Senators Warren and Markey sent a letter calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) to conduct a risk assessment of Enbridge's proposed natural gas compressor station. The senators cited the proximity of the proposed compressor station site to hundreds of homes, to dozens of schools, and to area sewage facilities, and they highlighted federal regulations designed to protect properties adjacent to compressor stations. PHMSA declined to conduct the requested risk assessment.