[Solidarity] Toxic Tour: Environmental Justice or Enbridge?

Wednesday, Mar 01

Join FRRACS on a tour of Enbridge-enabling agencies, as we urge them to shut down the compressor station.

Date and Time: Wednesday, March 1, 2023 from 11am-1pm | Snow date: March 8, 2023

Meeting spot: South Station, 700 Atlantic Ave., Boston at 11am

Though we haven't had many in-person events, we want you to know that our campaign has not slowed. We continue to monitor the compressor site and Enbridge's activities, and we are still pursuing our many legal battles. One of those legal battles is our appeal of the Ch. 91 Waterways License granted to Enbridge by MA DEP (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection). To obtain a waterways license, a facility needs to be water-dependent and ancillary to surrounding facilities. The compressor station is not water-dependent. Enbridge tried to argue that it is ancillary to the existing Hubline even though the Hubline does not require the compressor station to function. Once the license was approved, we appealed the decision, arguing that the compressor station is not ancillary.

Last year, the Superior Court rejected the permit because the compressor was not ancillary. The presiding officer for DEP at the time, Jane Rothschild, agreed that DEP erred in its original decision that it was ancillary. Since then, we've been waiting for the commissioner of the DEP, Martin Suuberg, to rule on Rothchild's finding. Instead, he left his position without a response and kicked it back to the new presiding officer, who recently disregarded the Superior Court and Rothschild's ruling by stating that the compressor is ancillary. Long story short, the DEP has ignored state regulations and has sided with Enbridge.

There are many agencies and people who have allowed this dangerous facility to be built, including the DEP, and they all need to be held accountable for the destruction they have enabled. We invite you to join us on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 for our second Toxic Tour, as we visit some of these agencies. We will present each stop on the tour with an "Enbridge-Enabler" award to remind them of the harm they've caused and show them that we are not giving up.

Tour stops:

1. Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities - In November of 2019, National Grid filed their 14-year contract with the DPU. These are documents that cover their projections of demand and energy supply. At that time, the utilities stated that they did not require the Weymouth Compressor Station in order to supply Massachusetts consumers with methane gas. Eversource followed suit stating the same. The Attorney General–the ratepayer advocate–filed a brief on this docket with the DPU stating that due to this, the DPU could not allow the utilities to charge the ratepayers for the Weymouth Compressor Station. The DPU ignored the Attorney General and, therefore, the ratepayers– including the consumers in the Fore River Basin–are paying for the compressor station–the very station that threatens their health and their lives every single day. The price tag to the ratepayers? $182+ million.

2. ML Strategies and Mintz Levin, PC - ML Strategies is the consulting and lobbying arm of Mintz Levin, PC. ML Strategies has lobbied former Gov. Baker and the legislature for the benefit of the gas industry. Mintz Levin, PC is the law firm that has represented Enbridge before the Office of Appeals and Dispute Resolutions (MA DEP) and in court. These organizations work to support polluting and climate destroying fossil fuel companies in the Commonwealth and beyond.

3. Gradient - Gradient is an environmental and risk sciences consulting firm. In 2019, Mintz Levin hired a consultant from Gradient, Peter Valberg, to serve as a witness for Enbridge during our air quality appeal hearing. Mr. Valberg argued that the risks within the Fore River Basin, based on ambient air concentrations "should not be viewed as providing evidence of unacceptable existing air quality." Mr. Valberg also revealed that his employer was being paid $400/hr by Enbridge for his testimony. Valberg and other consultants from Gradient, are known for their work as "white coats for hire", often defending industry by downplaying the health effects of their products. For example, Valberg served as an expert witness for Philip Morris in a case related to cigarettes. More recently, a consultant from Gradient, Dr. Julie Goodman, has attempted to downplay the health effects of gas stoves.

4. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) - They have, at each and every step in the 8+ year process of Enbridge’s attempt to build, construct, and operate a toxic compressor in Weymouth, protected the interests of Enbridge over the Environment, over the communities in the Fore River Basin, and over the people of Massachusetts.

5. Governor Healey - Gov. Healey ran on a platform of environmental justice (EJ) but we've yet to see any sign of such commitments. She has allowed construction of Eversource's substation in East Boston to begin despite lacking the necessary permits. She did not defend Weymouth during her tenure as Attorney General when the DEP failed to follow state regulations. And she has not visited the site or spoken out against the project since taking office.


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