Call follows court action to vacate the air quality permit for the compressor station
Boston (July 9, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today wrote to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), urging the Department to require that Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC, a subsidiary of Enbridge, Inc., immediately halt ongoing venting of natural gas at the meter stations located at the Calpine Fore River Energy Center site and the Weymouth compressor station. Last week, Enbridge, Inc. sent letters to MassDEP, municipal officials, fire departments, police departments, and residents in Weymouth, Braintree, Quincy, and Hingham, notifying them of its intention to conduct controlled natural gas venting operations intermittently between July 6 and July 13, 2020. On June 3, 2020, the First Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the air quality permit necessary for the operation of the compressor station; in his letter today, Senator Markey condemned Enbridge for deliberately releasing dangerous air emissions without a valid permit and urged MassDEP to take enforcement action to immediately halt these activities.
“Enbridge’s decision to begin natural gas venting—while citing the vacated Non-Major Comprehensive Air Quality Plan in its letter describing the activity to MassDEP—appears to fully ignore the latest court decision in favor of proceeding with business-as-usual,” writes Senator Markey. “This action should be prohibited under the vacating of the permit, without having to wait for a formal mandate. If the air permit is legally insufficient, the company should under no circumstances be trusted to perform deliberate releases of an air pollutant.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
In June, Senator Markey and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to request it rescind the notice to proceed on construction of the compressor station, due to the lack of complete permits. In April, Senators Warren and Markey wrote to Enbridge, Inc. calling for public health and safety protections at the Weymouth compressor construction site as they continued construction during the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, Senators Warren and Markey introduced legislation that would block construction of any compressor station built as part of a pipeline project to export natural gas – as the Weymouth station would, with plans to export natural gas to Canada. The Senators, along with Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), also sent a letter to the Chief Executive Officer of Enbridge, Inc. expressing serious concerns about the company’s proposal to construct the compressor station in Weymouth.