Request comes as the compressor station remains shut down following two significant emergency gas releases
Washington (November 9, 2020) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in support of a petition requesting a rehearing and rescission of the In-Service Authorization issued for the natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, Massachusetts on September 24, 2020. Since FERC authorized the construction of the Weymouth Compressor Station in January 2017, there have been two major developments that changed the circumstances surrounding the project: the coronavirus respiratory health crisis and two unplanned emergency shutdowns. These developments have raised serious concerns about the station’s impacts on the environment and on public health and safety. FERC has a responsibility and the statutory ability to consider these concerns before the compression station is allowed to commence operations.
“When FERC issued the original construction authorization for the compressor station in January 2017, it could not possibly have foreseen the COVID-19 crisis and its disproportionate impact on environmental justice communities and communities suffering from pollution,” write the Senators in their letter to FERC. “Given the Weymouth compressor station’s two recent emergency releases of natural gas and [volatile organic compounds], and the ongoing respiratory health crisis, FERC should rescind its in-service authorization.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Today’s letter follow a series of actions taken by Senators Markey and Warren to urge responsible entities to shut down the Weymouth compressor station. On September 30, 2020, the Senators wrote to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, urging the Administration to halt activities at the Weymouth compressor station and investigate the station’s safety following an equipment failure and emergency shutdown earlier that month. The next day, Enbridge agreed to pause start of operations at the gas compressor station. In July, Senator Markey and Senator Elizabeth Warren sent a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, urging the Department to require that Algonquin Gas Transmission 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. The Senators also wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to request that the Commission 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.