Legislators urge DEP to revoke air quality plan approval

When people first learn about the compressor station proposal, they often ask, “So, when is the vote?”. Fair question. Unfortunately, we have to inform them that there is no vote. “No vote?” That’s right, a company from Texas is proposing to build a toxic facility in a community that has neither asked for it nor wants it. Practically every single legislator in the area has voiced their opposition to the project, and yet the company is still trying to force the project into the community. The only elected official who has not voiced their opposition is Governor Charlie Baker.

We are very fortunate to have local elected officials who staunchly support our efforts to stop the project. South Shore legislators are now calling on the DEP to revoke their approval of Enbridge’s air quality plan approval (often referred to as an air quality permit), in light of the new air quality data that show the presence of many toxic pollutants in the Basin, some above state guidelines. You can read more about their new demand here: Weymouth News - Lawmakers urge DEP to revoke Weymouth compressor permit

Excerpt from the Weymouth News: "

“A coalition of nine South Shore legislators is urging Massachusetts Department of Environmental Presiding Officer Jane. A. Rothchild to overturn the DEP’s issuance of an air quality permit plan for a 7,700 horsepower compressor station in the Fore River Basin, saying the agency relied on incomplete air tests during a state health impact assessment of the proposed compressor station site in 2018.

“The new data findings... show extremely high levels of the neurotoxin carbon disulfide,” stated the lawmakers in the letter. “The data shows a level 71 times the threshold effect exposure limit for this toxic substance which already exists in the Fore River Basin. The neurological effects of carbon disulfide include headaches, confusion, psychosis, and coma. Extremely high levels may result even in death.”

The letter was signed by State Sen. Patrick O’Connor, R-Weymouth; State Rep. James Murphy, D-Weymouth; State Rep. Joan Meschino, D-Hull; State Rep. Tackey Chan, D-Quincy; State Rep. Mark J. Cusack, D-Braintree; State Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy; House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano, D-Quincy; State Sen. Walter Timilty, D-Quincy; and State Rep. Bruce Ayers, D-Quincy.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which oversaw the health impact assessment review, has asked Rothchild to reconsider the state review after the DEP released new air quality data near the compressor site during a May 17 appeals hearing.

Lawmakers stated the request to reconsider the air quality plan issued to Algonquin Gas Transmission “speaks volumes.

“The DEP itself has acknowledged that it has made decisions based on incomplete data,” stated lawmakers. “We believe that the introduction of the remaining data requires us to revisit the plan approval.”

DEP attorneys said on May 17 they did not believe the new air quality data would have affected the previous health impact assessment and the proposed compressor would not cause “significant health concerns.”

However, the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, which has opposed the compressor station, said Monday it found more than 9,000 changes in the new data, including the presence of at least 11 toxins not detected in the initial health impact assessment.

The DEP approved an air quality permit for Algonquin to construct the compressor station on Jan. 11.

Officials from Weymouth, Braintree, and Quincy have been appealing the DEP’s issuance of the air quality permit to Algonquin during a series of meetings at the State House within the past week.”