Weymouth resident Chet Austin said the area along the Fore River Basin where a natural gas compressor station is being proposed has considerable pollution.
“My family grew up in Wessagusset,” he said during a crowded meeting with Congressman Stephen F. Lynch and officials from the Pipeline Hazardous Safety Administration in Weymouth on June 17. “If you want to see the pollution it is still there. Wait for the tide to go out and walk the beach. When the tide goes out, it is covered with coal, and it has not been cleaned up. There was a major oil spill in the ’70s which destroyed the spawning ground for flounder. Why would you want to put something like this on that polluted land? Just walk the beach, and it will blow your mind.”
Spectra Enbridge Energy received a conditional certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in January 2017 to construct the 7,700 horsepower station. (read more)
WORCESTER - Residents and advocates filed into City Hall Monday demanding that public utility Eversource fix five natural gas leaks near five schools in the city, citing health concerns surrounding asthma.
Councilors on the Standing Committee on Public Health and Human Services filed an order asking the full council to require Eversource to fix the leaks and kept the matter on the agenda for future meetings. Massachusetts law dictates that gas companies prioritize repairing leaks within a school zone, or within 50 feet of a public or private school, preschool or Head Start.
District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera expressed confidence that the city can work with Eversource to fix the “public health crisis.” Ms. Rivera said next steps include reaching out to the gas company and including the effects of gas leaks on the public in future community health improvement plans. (read more)
Advocates, legislators and local officials are calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to put an end to a controversial Weymouth gas facility as his Department of Environmental Protection comes under scrutiny for withholding important air quality data.
“It’s disappointing to see agencies that are in place to protect us like the DEP aren’t doing their job,” Alan Palm of 350 Massachusetts said. “Ultimately, the buck stops with the governor … He has been willing to publicly say it’s out of his hands, it’s a federal issue, but it’s not. It’s his agencies approving this and his willingness to ignore the opportunity … he has to step in and stop it.”
DEP officials seemed confused in a continued air-quality permit appeal hearing Monday, not directly answering why they withheld over 700 pages of data last month that showed certain toxins above the limits in an already highly polluted area. The decision deadline was extended to July 12. (read more)
BOSTON - State Department of Environmental Protection officials acknowledged under oath Monday that they were prompted to revisit key air-quality tests nine months after receiving the results because of a freelance journalist’s reporting that highlighted inconsistencies in the data tied to a proposed Weymouth natural gas compressor station.
The department’s decision to ask for updated test results in May and a subsequent weeks-long wait to disclose that information upended an appeals hearing on an air-quality permit issued for the compressor station and led hearing officer Jane Rothchild to threaten consequences and extend the hearing.
The process resumed Monday, but the proceedings did not bring a decision in the case. Rothchild now wants to extend the final deadline for a decision by two weeks given the matter’s “voluminous” nature. However, Rothchild said the hearing did reveal a “somewhat unfortunate process” within the department itself and one that cast the department in a “not so favorable light” on a day when protesters slammed the department’s work. (read more)
Wheelabrator Millbury is cited as a top polluter, example of ‘environmental apartheid’ (Worcester Telegram 6/9/19)
MILLBURY — A new report criticizing the economics and health effects of municipal waste incinerators ranks Wheelabrator Millbury as one of the dirtiest such facilities in the country for two pollutants that contribute to respiratory problems.
“The incinerator industry is in trouble,” concludes the report, “U.S. Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators: An Industry in Decline,” from the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School. “These aging facilities are too expensive to maintain, too risky to finance, and too costly to upgrade ... These facilities can create financial burdens while generating health-harming air pollution for local communities. Finally, these plants represent an environmental injustice because they burden communities of color and low-income communities where they are located. (read more)
SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) - Environmental activists plan to gather in Springfield tonight to voice their opposition to proposed changes to the state's renewable energy standards.
The Massachusetts Department of Energy wants to expand the state's renewable energy, but residents aren't agreeing with their standards.
Under their proposal, companies would be given tax credits, for burning "woody fuel" to create energy.
This has created some backlash in Springfield, where Palmer Renewable Energy has proposed a wood-burning plant.
Combustion of woody fuels is used to generate steam or electricity.
Protesters believe this plant would further damage the air quality in the city.
Opponents believe, these changes would also allow biomass plants to collect millions of dollars, in clean energy subsidies.
The meeting was originally scheduled for last week but will take place here at Duggan Academy to accommodate a larger crowd. (read more)
SOMERSET — The Missouri-based company that owns the former Brayton Point Power Station has announced a new port operations and lease agreement for the property, which the company says will help attract additional tenants to the site.
Commercial Development Company announced last month that the Wakefield-based Anbaric would open the Anbaric Renewable Energy Center on Brayton Point by 2021. The facility would be capable of converting 1,200 megawatts of electricity generated by nearby wind farms, but it would take up only a portion of the Brayton Point property.
The rest, as alluded to by a Tuesday press release from CDC, could be filled by other tenants in need of access to a deep water port.
The site had been used as a port when it was operational as a coal-fired power plant, but CDC’s plans would expand operations. According to the release, “the port will now be used for bulk cargo, heavy lift cargoes and building materials for the offshore wind energy sector. (read more)
BARNSTABLE — Critics on Thursday expressed concern that the Cape Cod Commission’s revised regional plan doesn’t go far enough to reduce the effects of climate change on the region in the years ahead.
Last fall, as the commission was putting the final touches on the latest update of its regional planning policies guiding development and environmental protection, an international climate change panel warned that the next dozen years would determine whether the world avoided a worst-case scenario in terms of global warming.
Kristy Senatori, the commission’s executive director, said the news from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change helped shape the rewrite of the regional policy plan, which is required at least every five years.
The updated plan proposed a number of local climate change initiatives such as developing a baseline of the Cape’s greenhouse gas emissions to measure the effectiveness of reduction strategies, finding locations for new electric vehicle charging stations and utility-scale solar arrays and energy storage, and encouraging towns to seek state Green Communities designation. (read more)
PLYMOUTH — Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, which weathered four-plus decades of nor’easters, protests and lawsuits, in the end could not withstand energy market forces and the costs of operating an aging plant.
The state’s only nuclear plant, which provided about 17 percent of the electrical power to Massachusetts, will shut down permanently Friday.
Entergy Corp., the plant’s owner-operator, announced plans to shutter the 680 MW reactor in October 2015, one month after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission categorized it as one of the worst-run plants in the country.
The plant climbed back into Category 1 — requiring the least federal oversight — in March after undergoing thousands of hours of inspections and addressing hundreds of items on a checklist of violations.
But it still limped to the finish line, never returning to full power after shutting down May 17 because of problems with a pump that delivers water to the cooling system — the latest in a long series of manual shutdowns in the last five years. (read more)
Charlton residents voice concern over proposed liquid natural gas plant on Route 169 (Worcester Telegram 5/30/19)
CHARLTON – The plan to develop a $100 million liquid natural gas plant along the “energy corridor” on Route 169 met resistance from residents at a state public hearing Wednesday.
Liberty Energy Trust, operating under Northeast Energy Center LLC, seeks to construct an LNG plant on 12 acres at 304 Southbridge Rd, near Millennium Power on Route 169.
The company seeks state Energy Facilities Siting Board approval to develop the plant that will liquify, store and load natural gas into trucks. The company also seeks exemptions from Charlton zoning bylaws.
One Siting Board requirement is that the applicant must demonstrate the project is reasonably necessary for the convenience and welfare of the public.
About 100 people attended the Siting Board’s second public hearing in town, at Charlton Middle School on Wednesday.
Matthew H. Taylor, partner NEC, said additional engineering and assessments after the first public hearing in November led to a preferred location change from Route 20 to Route 169, where the company has a purchase agreement with the owner, Incom Inc.
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