Today we received the victory of time due to a court case brought by Algonquin (Spectra/Enbridge) against the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
Algonquin was charging in its court brief (read the brief here) that the DEP was essentially foot dragging and that the Natural Gas Act pre-empted (overrode) any of the permitting that the DEP was charged with. Although this sounds a little scary, the end result was that there was a agreement made by the DEP to agree to a court ordered time frame in which permits would be granted or denied. Without conceding to Algonquin's argument, the DEP will be given until January 11. 2019 to complete the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and either grant or deny the Air Quality Permit. If the permit is granted, the Town of Weymouth, as an intervenor, has until June 28, 2019 to finish an appeal process. There was also an intervenor request from the Hingham Residents Against the Compressor Station (HRACS), but we are not sure that they were accepted by the DEP as intervenors just yet. They are following up on that.
What does this all mean for us? Only that the Department of Public Health and the DEP will be given the breathing room to conduct a thorough HIA. FRRACS will be in appeals in June on the Wetlands permit. If the Wetlands permit is ultimately approved, we will proceed with our Waterways appeal. If the Wetlands permit is revoked, the project is likely doomed.
So, Fore River Campers, we invite you to take the long weekend off, as we will, and rest and congratulate yourselves for all of your work on this. The unrelenting pressure that you have brought to bear on the powers that be have given us this reprieve.
Some things have changed, but the fight remains the same. Please stay with us and stay informed.
Thank you, most sincerely, for all that you do!
-The FRRACS Team
You can read Spectra's brief here.
Mayor Hedlund posted an update about this announcement, as well as an update on the remaining permits on facebook. You can read his update here.