In Friday's letter from Secretary Beaton, he stated the state's Health Impact Assessment could take 10-12 months to complete. This is good news, though it's not certain that it would delay Enbridge's timeline. You can read the more about it in today's Patriot Ledger article.
"The head of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affair says the review of the proposed 7,700-horsepower natural-gas compressor station for a clean air permit could take as long as a year.
Gov. Charlie Baker notified Weymouth officials in July that he had directed state agencies to investigate issues opponents have raised about the controversial project, including air pollution and public safety. Baker said the state would not issue any permits for the project until the assessment is completed.
In October, Mayor Robert Hedlund sent a letter to Baker asking for more specifics about the timeline and scope of the health-impact assessment for the compressor station Algonquin, a subsidiary of Spectra Energy-Enbridge, wants to build on the banks of the Fore River.
Matthew Beaton, secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affair, responded in a letter Friday stating that state health and environment officials are working together to develop a scope for the assessment, and said the state shares the mayor’s goal “of a transparent, impartial, and independent evaluation” of the project.
Beaton said the officials will share the draft scope for the health-impact assessment, and will consult with local officials and stakeholders before developing the final version. Beaton said he expects the assessment to take 10 to 12 months.
“The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to ensuring that community concerns are heard fully, and will work with you to ensure that the needs of the residents of the Fore River area are given due and timely consideration by the state agencies reviewing this project, as well as the federal regulators making the primary decisions regarding this project,” Beaton wrote.
Hedlund said this assessment creates a “significant delay,” which is welcomed by officials and residents who have been fighting the project on all fronts.
″(Algonquin) was supposed to be pumping gas by now,” Hedlund said. “A big part of any pipeline project is market demand and what time the bid process goes out. That alone could change the dynamics of the project.”
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a conditional certificate for the proposal in January. The federal agency has ultimate authority over interstate pipelines, but the project must adhere to some federal laws that are administered at the state level. Town officials and the residents group are opposing the state permits on all fronts.
Hedlund said the clean air permit is one of two areas where the state has influence over the project. He said the state rejected plans for a hazardous-waste incinerator at the Clean Harbors facility in Braintree in the late 1980s based on the air quality assessments.
“This could be the stone that brings down Goliath,” he said.
Residents fighting the proposed compressor station and Dr. Curtis Nordgaard have conducted independent air-quality testing and say that hazardous pollutants already exist in the Fore River Basin that Algonquin has not accounted for, including benzene and formaldehyde. Nordgaard, a pediatrician from Newton who practices in Dorchester and sees many South Shore patients, has been leading the testing for the past year." (Patriot Ledger)