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!
Spectra Energy, is 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.
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. FRRACS, the Town of Weymouth, the City of Quincy, and other groups have filed appeals and are currently waiting for decisions from the courts.
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.
What about Governor 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 spoke about the compressor station in July 2017 after months of pressure from the community. He did not speak out against the compressor station but ordered his administration to conduct a health impact assessment (HIA) in the Fore River Basin before any permits could be issued. The HIA is still under way. He still 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.
Our demands have been and continue to be:
Visit the proposed site so that he can better understand the detrimental impact that the compressor station would have on the surrounding community.
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:
In February 2017, FRRACS delivered thousands of signed postcards to Gov. Baker's office. We received no response.
Weymouth resident, Andrea Honore, visited Gov. Baker's office every weekday on her lunch break in the spring of 2017. She visited his office for over 80 days, as part of the #SitWithAndrea campaign. (You can read more about her sit-in at SitWithAndrea.wordpress.com). Gov. Baker knew that she was sitting out there, but did not made any effort to meet with her.
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.
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.
You can view our first TV ad, “Where are you, Gov. Baker?” 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 (in no particular order).
Donate to our legal fund. We are need of funds to pay our legal fees. Thanks to the support of so many people, we’ve been able to hire an excellent attorney who is helping us appeal Spectra’s wetlands and waterways permits. Through these appeals, we have significantly delayed Spectra’s efforts. This is an important and effective tactic, but it is expensive. We are grateful for any amount that you are able to give. You can donate online here.
Attend a FRRACS meeting. We meet the second Tuesday of every month at the Fore River Clubhouse in Quincy (16 Nevada Road) from 7-9pm. Our next meeting is October 10.
Get a “No Compressor” yard sign for your home. We have lots of yard signs, and we deliver! Send us an email with your address and we can drop one off (firstname.lastname@example.org). We encourage a $5 donation for signs — donations can be made online here.
Call Governor Baker and ask why has not visited the proposed compressor station site. We have local volunteers who have spent the past 3 years educating themselves on this issue. They would be happy to give him a tour. You can call him here 617-725-4005.
Spread the word! Tell your friends, neighbors, and family about the issue. Let’s spread this far and wide! You can direct folks to NoCompressor.com.
For a PDF handout of action items, click here.
The Stats (displayed in the TV ad)
Will release 10 cancer causing chemicals
According to the EPA. Read more here.
900+ Homes within a half-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.
Within 3 miles of more than 30 schools
Data from Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. More info here.