FRRACS TV Ad: Compressor Station Overview

If you saw our ad on TV and have not heard of the proposed Weymouth compressor station, you've come to the right place. Below we have outlined an overview of what a compressor is, why it is a problem, and what you can do to help. We encourage you to explore the rest of our site for more info and to reach out to us if you have any questions!

The Proposal

Spectra Energy, a fracked-gas pipeline company based in Texas, plans to build a 7,700-horsepower gas compressor station in North Weymouth. Spectra was bought by Enbridge earlier this year, making them one of the largest oil and gas companies in North America. Though they've merged under the name Enbridge, we continue to refer to them as Spectra, for name recognition purposes.

The compressor station proposal is part of Spectra's Atlantic Bridge project, which they are building to bring fracked-gas through New England and into Canada. Nearly 70% of the gas is intended for shipment to Canada. (1) 

They intend to build it in the Fore River Basin in North Weymouth, across from the new Fore River Bridge. Compressor stations are typically built in rural areas on dozens of acres of land. This compressor station would be built on 4 acres of land, next to 8 other industrial facilities.

The Concerns

  • Compressor stations are not safe and have a history of accidents. They emit 10 cancer-causing pollutants, among other pollutants. (2)
  • Compressor stations periodically experience "blowdowns."
    • The process in which natural gas is emitted through a vent to depressurize the gas. These periodic releases can be scheduled, as part of an emergency, or even accidental. They are known to be the largest single emission from a compressor station. The blowdown releases a gas plume that extends 40-60 meters in the air. (3)
  • The compressor station could have a negative impact on property value.
    • Homeowners living near a compressor station in NY saw a 25-50% decrease in property value assessment. Property value can also be impacted by various other factors imposed by compressor stations: noise emitted from the compressor station, safety risks, and health impacts. (4)
  • Compressor stations are loud, especially during a "blowdown." Hear for yourself:

How does the Approval Process Work?

There is no vote on the project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the authority to approve or deny the project. FERC is known as a "rubber-stamp agency" because they approve nearly every application that crosses their desk. When proposing to construct a new infrastructure project, Spectra (or any other company) has to go through an application process with FERC. You can see an outline of the process here. For the Weymouth Compressor Station, Spectra is in the Regulatory Approval stage. They have applied for a handful of permits from the state that are still being reviewed. 

The good news: We have a lot of support from our local and state officials. The Weymouth Town Council and City of Quincy have passed resolutions in opposition to the compressor. Mayor Hedlund (Weymouth) opposes the compressor, as does Mayor Sullivan (Braintree) and Mayor Koch (Quincy). Senators Markey and Warren have spoken out against the compressor and have sent multiple letters to FERC. We also have the support of dozens of State Senators and Reps. This support has been incredibly helpful in the fight against the compressor and we are grateful for all that they have done. For a full list, click here.

Why We Need Gov. Baker

Though we have the support of dozens of state and local officials, we're still missing one key individual: Governor Charlie Baker. Gov. Baker has not spoken out against the compressor and has not visited the proposed site. Though hundreds of his constituents have reached out to him, he refuses to meet with anyone to talk about the compressor.

We're asking him to:

  1. Visit the proposed site so that he can better understand the detrimental impact that the compressor station would have on the surrounding community.
  2. Speak out against the compressor. Stating his opposition will help give his agencies, like Coastal Zone Management, political cover to deny Spectra's permits.

Many efforts have been made to contact Gov. Baker:

  1. In February, FRRACS delivered thousands of signed postcards to Gov. Baker's office. We received no response.
  2. Weymouth resident, Andrea Honore, visits Gov. Baker's office every weekday on her lunch break. She has been doing it for nearly 80 days now, as part of the #SitWithAndrea campaign. (You can read more about her sit-in at SitWithAndrea.wordpress.com). Gov. Baker knows that she is sitting out there, but has not made any effort to meet with her.
  3. Gov. Baker does a monthly radio program on BPR called "Ask the Governor," which we use as an opportunity to ask him questions about the compressor. Each time he is faced with a question about the compressor, he responds by saying that our concerns need to be brought to the federal level. Though the compressor receives final approval/denial from a federal agency, it is imperative that the Governor of our state does something to address this issue. He could start by visiting the site, instead of dismissing and ignoring the concerns of so many people.
  4. In addition to all of these efforts, we regularly ask folks to call the Governor to express their concerns about the compressor.

We need Governor Baker's support. His voice of opposition could help stop the compressor.

Please call the Governor -- 617-725-4005 -- and ask him to visit the site and to speak out against the compressor. Sample phone and email script is available here.

What Can You Do?

Your support, in any shape or form, is instrumental in the fight against the compressor. See below for a list of ways to get involved.

Click on the image to access the full PDF version.

Click on the image to access the full PDF version.

The Stats (displayed in the TV ad)

  1. 1,000+ Homes within a one-mile radius
    • The original project required notice to 960 landowners within a half-mile. Apartment complexes count as 1 landowner, so the 1,000+ factors in all of the apartments, not just the single apartment building, as well as homes that are between a half mile and one mile away from the site.
  2. 1,000s of children within a one-mile radius
    • According to school enrollment data, more than two thousand students attend schools within 1 mile of the compressor station. This info was obtained from the MA Dept. of Education, ChildCareCenter.us, and GreatSchools.org.
  3. 15 Educational Facilities within a one-mile radius
    • According to school enrollment data, there are fifteen schools and daycares within ~1 mile of the compressor station. This info was obtained from the MA Dept. of Education, ChildCareCenter.us, and GreatSchools.org.

The TV Ad