FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2017
Alice Arena, Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station
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Karina Wilkinson, Food & Water Watch, New England
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Courtney Williams, Stop the Algonquin Expansion and Safe Energy Rights Group
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Tri-State Coalition Challenges Spectra’s Fracked Gas Expansion Project
Environmental Groups & Quincy MA File Rehearing Request on Atlantic Bridge Project
A coalition of groups has filed a Request for Rehearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) challenging the approval of the controversial Atlantic Bridge project.
Food & Water Watch, grassroots groups from three states including the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS), and the City of Quincy argue that communities from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York will be adversely impacted by Spectra Energy’s gas pipeline expansion project. FRRACS engaged DC-based attorney Carolyn Elefant to file the request on February 24, 2017, asking FERC to vacate the order.
If FERC rejects the request, the parties will consider taking legal action in federal court.
Local, state, and federal elected officials, as well as citizens along the entire pipeline route, have repeatedly cited the flawed FERC review of the project, which they say is not supported by substantial evidence. Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey have asked for the Certificate of Approval of the Atlantic Bridge Project to be rescinded, particularly since the Commission has only two serving commissioners, and thus does not have a quorum to evaluate the Rehearing Request.
Karina Wilkinson, Massachusetts Local Coordinator for Food & Water Watch, said: “In light of the serious health, safety, and environmental concerns that FERC failed to address before approving this dangerous project, the Commission must reconsider their approval. State agencies are not expected to complete their reviews before August and may deny the necessary permits, so FERC’s hasty action just before Commissioner Bay’s resignation is irresponsible and wrong on its face.”
Alice Arena, Lead Coordinator of FRRACS, stated: "FERC never gave serious consideration to the potentially devastating health and safety implications for the environmentally sensitive and industrially overburdened Fore River Basin. With two federally and state recognized Environmental Justice communities in Quincy, within the 1/2 mile radius of the proposed station, along with a dense residential population in North Weymouth and seven polluting industries already in the Basin, this site is the worst possible place for another toxic and dangerous facility. FERC never did due diligence in our community, and simply took Spectra at its word for everything. Coupled with a glaring conflict of interest with the firm that wrote the Environmental Assessment, this certification was a dereliction of duty on the part of FERC. "
After Spectra Energy submitted its application to FERC last year, groups and individuals from Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut filed to become intervenors in the FERC process. This entitles them to file a Request for Rehearing after FERC’s issuance of a Certificate of Approval.
"Spectra has clearly taken their massive expansion of the 'Algonquin' Pipeline and broken it up into smaller projects to avoid proper assessment of the environmental impacts,” said Courtney Williams from Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) and SEnRG NY. “Many streams and wetlands will be crossed by Spectra's Atlantic Bridge project, and hundreds of communities will be impacted by construction and infrastructure, yet FERC refused to produce a full Environmental Impact Statement. Add to this the shoddy science in the environmental assessment, numerous conflicts of interest, and the segmentation of the AIM and Access Northeast projects, and I am shocked that FERC continues to operate the way it does. We should be transitioning as quickly as possible to clean energy, not deepening our dependence on fossil fuels."
The coalition partners are FRRACS (MA), Food & Water Watch (national), Berkshire Environmental Action Team (MA), Capitalism v. the Climate (CT), 350 CT, Eastern CT Green Action, Grassroots Environmental Education (NY), Keep Yorktown Safe (NY), 350 MA South Shore Node, Safe Energy Rights Group (NY), Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (NY), Toxics Action Center (New England) West Roxbury Saves Energy (MA), Weymouth (MA) Councilwoman Rebecca Haugh (as an individual) and the City of Quincy (MA).