January 18, 2018

 
 
 
 

Baker claims he "had no choice" but to issue permit for Weymouth compressor station: We beg to differ.

On Monday, Governor Baker said he “basically had no choice” but to approve air quality permits for the compressor station proposed for Weymouth, MA as part of Enbridge’s Atlantic Bridge project, deferring authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  This abdication of responsibility is no longer an excuse for not standing up for a state's right to deny a state permit since the Constitution Pipeline was successfully halted in New York by their Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) denial of the needed Water Quality Permit. This is also after the long-awaited, state-funded Health Impact Assessment (HIA) was released, and revealed to be crafted using data and consultants from the industry.

Our friends in Weymouth are not letting this stand without pushback.
Please join them in calling Governor Baker’s office.


Hello Friend of FRRACS. We need your help...and your voice. 

There have been a lot of phone calls made to Governor Baker's office over the past 3 days. We thank you for taking the time to make them. But we need more.  We need him to realize we are not going away just because he feels he has doomed our health, our safety, our environment, and our economy to the clutches of Enbridge.

He failed us--in a big way.  And we have to keep up the pressure.
Andrea is sitting again.  She is on Day #87. She needs our voices, too.

Can we count on you to call Governor Baker today?

A few suggestions on what to say:
    •    With the expansion of fracked-gas infrastructure, he should be considering the fact that his Administration will not make the 2020 Global Warming Solutions Act mandates. How does he plan to explain this to the Supreme Judicial Court, which stated that the GWSA was the law?

    •     A valid HIA is quantitative in nature and the HIA that he mandated states that it is not quantitative. Why did he accept the false conclusions of this HIA?

    •    He did not follow through on the other two part of his mandate--to investigate safety and security and to address coastal resiliency as it applies to the siting of this compressor in a FEMA flood zone. What does he plan to do about these deficiencies?

    •    This air quality permit was issued against the objection of every legislator on the South Shore--from Quincy to Duxbury and parts of Plymouth and Bristol County and the Mayors of Weymouth, Quincy, and Braintree.  How does he explain ignoring the objections of legislators and mayors--some of whom are in his own political party and who endorsed his re-election?

    •    Approval of Enbridge's air quality permit was in spite of scientific data from his mandated HIA showing elevated air pollution and health problems already in the area, which includes two designated Environmental Justice neighborhoods. Does he not care about the health of the citizens of the Basin? Does he not understand the economic strain that a sick populace puts on the State?

    •    Why has he refused--for 87 days and counting--to meet with a constituent who has concerns about this compressor station? 

The Governor said in this article that he "had no choice" on the compressor station permit. He had a choice.  He had the choice to prioritize the interests of his citizens--many of whom voted for his re-election--over the interests of a multinational fossil fuel company.  He chose poorly.

Call the Governor at 617-725-4005. 
Call today.  Ask one question.  Then call again tomorrow.


Thank you for all that you do.

NEWS

Baker admin approves air permits for
natural gas projects
By Michael P. Norton, State House News Service (via WWLP-TV)
January 11, 2019


In a decision blasted by South Shore lawmakers as reckless, irresponsible and dangerous, Gov. Charlie Baker's administration on Friday approved air quality permits for a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, with state environmental regulators concluding the Enbridge Energy project conforms with air pollution regulations.

Sen. Patrick O'Connor (R-Weymouth) said his hometown "has been fighting the proposal for five years through local activism, legislation, and our legal system. With each year, more and more people joined the fight because they knew this proposal would impact the entire Commonwealth, not just Weymouth. This decision sets a dangerous precedent for facilities like this to be built anywhere in the Commonwealth, and beyond."

Said Rep. Joan Meschino (D-Hull): "I am disappointed that the Commonwealth has issued an air quality permit with complete disregard for the overwhelming evidence of the dangerous and detrimental impacts of this project. I urge the administration to hold a stronger line to protect the health of our residents."

» Read the full story

Congressman Stephen Lynch seeks federal review of Weymouth compressor air permit
By Ed Baker, Wicked Local Weymouth
January 15, 2019

Congressman Stephen F Lynch is requesting a full federal review of an air quality permit issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection to Spectra Energy Enbridge for its proposed compressor station in the Fore River Basin on Jan. 11.

Lynch stated he is, “deeply troubled and disappointed,” by the DEP’s recent decision.
“I believe that we, the elected officials, the health experts and the citizen’s groups involved have collectively and clearly demonstrated beyond dispute that this project is unsafe as designed,” Lynch stated in an email to the Weymouth News.“We are currently preparing a request for a full review of the air permitting decision, and we will coordinate our response with Mayor Bob Hedlund of Weymouth, Mayor Tom Koch of Quincy and Mayor Joe Sullivan of Braintree, as well as our state and municipal delegations and citizens groups.”

Lynch stated he has requested a field hearing of the Federal Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration to be held in Weymouth, “in one more attempt to emphasize the danger that this project presents to the surrounding communities.”



» For more news updates about the Weymouth compressor station battle, see our page on No Fracked Gas in Mass and visit FRRACS site.


Judge Consolidates Lawsuits Against Columbia Gas
But the legal process could take years if the utility and plaintiffs don't settle out of court, Judge James Lang warned.
By Dave Copeland, Patch
January 15, 2019

Lang's ruling streamlines the legal process for potentially hundreds of people who had property damaged or destroyed and the thousands more who went weeks and months without gas service. But Lang also urged plaintiffs in the consolidated class action suit to work towards an out-of-court settlement, noting litigation could take years.


Healey Outlines Priorities In 'Time Of Consequence'
By Matt Murphy, State House News Service
January 16, 2019
On climate change, Healey said Massachusetts needs a new goal to meet 100 percent of its energy needs with renewable power by 2050, and 50 percent by 2030.
"We won't let the federal government and the fossil fuel industry undermine our progress and wreck our planet," she said.

Healey is hardly alone in calling for a more aggressive transition to clean energy and carbon emission on Beacon Hill, and the attorney general said she supports Gov. Baker's push to develop a regional "cap-and-invest" program to reduce vehicle emissions. Some lawmakers are also calling for the state's carbon emission requirements to be updated.

Study shows immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change
Scientists say it may still technically be possible to limit warming to 1.5C if drastic action is taken now

by Damian Carrington, The Guardian
January 15, 2019


The study found that if all fossil fuel infrastructure – power plants, factories, vehicles, ships and planes – from now on are replaced by zero-carbon alternatives at the end of their useful lives, there is a 64% chance of staying under 1.5C.

Christopher Smith, of the University of Leeds, who led the research, said: “It’s good news from a geophysical point of view. But on the other side of the coin, the [immediate fossil fuel phaseout] is really at the limit of what we could we possibly do. We are basically saying we can’t build anything now that emits fossil fuels.”

Nicholas Stern, of the London School of Economics, who was not part of the research team, said: “We are rapidly approaching the end of the age of fossil fuels. This study confirms that all new energy infrastructure must be sustainable from now on if we are to avoid locking in commitments to emissions that would lead to the world exceeding the goals of the Paris agreement.”

» Read the full story


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