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article imageFeds override locals and approve gas compressor near Boston

By Karen Graham     Jan 26, 2017 in Environment
Weymouth - Federal energy regulators signed off on a plan to build a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, despite the overwhelming and vehement objections of residents, local officials and members of the congressional delegation.
For Houston, Texas-based Spectra Energy, getting the permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is a big feather in their hat. They plan on building the 7,700-horsepower station at the foot of the Fore River Bridge in Weymouth, Massachusetts to help push natural gas from Pennsylvania into Maine and Canada, according to the Boston Globe.
According to the federal regulators, the proposed gas compressor plant won't "significantly affect the air quality," reports ABC News. Regulators say the plant will be built in an area with open and industrial land and the plan calls for it to blend in with its surroundings.
Weymouth is on the right side of the picture.
Weymouth is on the right side of the picture.
Mass. Department of Transportation
But local officials and townspeople are not happy with the plans and never have been. Mayor Robert L. Hedlund said on Wednesday that the city's bid to kill the plan is far from over. Spectra Energy will still need to get the necessary environmental impact studies from the Baker Administration and additional state permits and studies related to clean air, clean water, and coastal zone protections.
“We’re disappointed, but [the ruling] wasn’t unexpected,” he said. “The track record of FERC is that they have been pro-industry, and they have been throughout their existence," said Mayor Hedlund. He says the town plans to appeal the ruling to the agency itself, and if that goes nowhere, they will file a federal lawsuit to stop the project.
There are valid concerns that need to be addressed. Gas compressor stations are quite noisy. The stations resemble big barns with a huge fan on one end, and they run constantly. While states may have strict regulations on the decibel level of the stations, the FERC is not anywhere near as strict, and that is worrisome. Plus, there are legitimate concerns over how the stations affect air quality.
"The community consensus is that we don’t want it,” Hedlund said. Some high-profile officials are also against the project, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey and US Representative Stephen Lynch, who have all spoken out against the Spectra plan.
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