There’s a lot to read for us all in these past few days, everyone’s MassDEP comments have come in, including a joint letter from Senator Markey, Senator Warren, and Rep. Lynch. Thank you all!
Weymouth and the Intervenors also submitted comments, backed up by independent, professional air and noise testing studies. Definitely a must-read. Summary from Mayor Hedlund’s facebook page:
We hope DEP Air Quality would seriously consider the opinions of the independent experts the Town hired and deny the natural gas companies efforts to pollute our air and wake us in the middle of the night.
This afternoon we filed comments on behalf of the Town and the “ten-citizens” group, which include 15 Town officials, opposing the natural gas companies’ efforts to obtain an air quality permit from DEP.
The five-page letter included nine-pages of reports from two independent experts who were not beholden to the natural gas companies. These experts found that DEP should deny the air permit for at least the following reasons:
(i) The natural gas companies’ modeling of air quality only considers one compressor, when two are actually planned. If done correctly, the compressors combined would violate five different air quality standards, including nitrogen dioxide, benzene, and formaldehyde;
(ii) The air quality modelling excludes startup & shutdown impacts—even though 416 startup/shutdowns per year are expected. If done correctly the compressor would violate the formaldehyde air quality standard;
(iii) There is no basis in DEP policy to allow the natural gas companies to avoid consideration of excessively high background formaldehyde levels that exceed the air quality standards by 42 times; and
(iv) Independent noise monitoring done by the Town and four North Weymouth residents show that when background noise is measured for six days—instead of three minutes as the natural gas company did—the compressor station would be substantially more noisy than claimed and would exceed the allowable nighttime noise standards by 260%.
An air quality permit is the next battle as we keep fighting the war against this ill-advised project.
By the way, as new people get on board with the fight the last few weeks, I’ve heard them repeat a misleading statement about existing compressors in the Fore River Area: “There are already compressors there.” Well, yes. Yes there are. But:
There are compressors at the Calpine plant and the Potter plant. They are much smaller in comparison to Algonquin’s proposal, and only used to pressurize the gas needed to run the plant. Both plants are dual-fuel, meaning they run on both gas and diesel. When they run on diesel they do not use the compressor because no pressure is needed. Also- the plants only come online when they are needed by the grid. The Potter plant is estimated at only 800 hours per year of use. (Thank you to Alice A. for this info)