Washington, D.C. - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt construction of the natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, Massachusetts, due to ongoing environmental justice concerns.
The Weymouth compressor station, which was approved by state and federal agencies in November, is intended to send natural gas through Massachusetts and export it out to Canada. The plan is vigorously opposed by state and local officials, community residents, and other stakeholders, in part because of its proximity to numerous homes, schools and water facilities. The lawmakers' letter to FERC comes after the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit invalidated the facility's air quality permit due to inadequate analysis at the state level earlier this month.
"Given the invalidation of the facility's air quality permit, construction must stop immediately," the Senators said.
"In November 2019, we wrote to you to express our concerns about the notice to proceed with construction on the Weymouth compressor station. In the letter, we urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reevaluate the project's final approval due to its serious potential for risk to the surrounding community and the lack of demonstrated need," the lawmakers wrote. "The construction and operation of the Weymouth compressor station would cause significant health, safety, and environmental effects on Weymouth and surrounding communities. Our concerns with the compressor's construction and operation remain. In light of the court's invalidation of the air quality permit, FERC should rescind its notice to proceed and direct Enbridge and its subsidiaries to stop construction at the Weymouth compressor station."
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 COVID-19 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 Representative Stephen F. Lynch (D-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, a densely populated coastal area.