Late post, sorry about that! Today I post Day #53 and #54. Art first: with a foot photo complete with natural gas utility spray paint on the asphalt, in front of the State House:
Today brought Kelsey W. to sit with me. She’s a co-founder of Mothers Out Front. I was very glad to be able to spend some time with her to talk about next steps with #SitWithAndrea. It’s high time to ramp this exercise up.
Before I go further, I’d like to make sure everyone has a handle on the project timeline. Of course things might change as we go, but, as of right now here’s what we’ve been looking at as far as State issues are concerned:
August 2017 Anticipate Ch. 91 permit (but we hope not)
August 2017 Anticipate decision from CZM, if Ch. 91 and Wetlands are permitted by then. Wetlands permit is still in an indefinite stay until the court case is settled…probably in the Fall of 2017. So, CZM could extend the stay to wait for DEP to finish up one way or the other.
There are a bunch of smaller permits needed at this point, but if CZM gives Spectra their permit, Spectra can start construction if federal-level lawsuits brought by the town and residents have been unsuccessful against FERC in DC Federal court
Spectra’s timeline shows shovels in the ground in November 2017. No one thinks that can happen, but this is in free-fall now so we don’t know.
Algonquin/Spectra/Enbridge will say everything is A-OK and that they are on schedule to their investors, however 😛 Don’t expect them to do anything but save face this year.
Thank you to Alice A. from FRRACS for giving me the basis of this timeline.
IN THE PAST:
April 2016 Open hearings at Abigail Adams on Ch. 91 Waterways
April/May 2016 Public hearings at Weymouth Conservation Commission for Wetlands permits (8 total hours of meeting time and testimony went into this decision)
May 2016 Denial of Wetlands permit from Weymouth ConCom
July 2016 DEP Wetlands site visit
August 2016 DEP Wetland’s Superseding Order of Conditions on Weymouth ConCom giving Spectra the permit subject to their ability to meet Weymouth’s Wetland’s Ordinance
August 2016 CZM (Coastal Zone Management) issues a one year stay on Spectra for lack of Wetlands and Ch. 91 permits
October 2016 DEP Wetlands hearing
December 2016 DEP issues a Stay on the SOC (Superseding Order of Conditions) Spectra requested (basically asking DEP to forget Weymouth ComCom’s denial of permit and allow Spectra to proceed)
January 2017 Spectra asked DEP Wetlands to vacate the stay
March 2017 DEP Wetlands extends the stay
April 2017 DEP Air Quality Plan Proposal issued (not a permit, but close)
May 2017 Spectra files in Federal Court to disallow Weymouth ConCom’s denial of permit, suing the Town of Weymouth and Weymouth ConCom.
May 2017 DEP Waterways issues letter for Ch. 91—intention to permit (not a permit, but close)
As you can see, there’s room for some good delays here. There’s also the fact that Algonquin’s contracts with utilities expire in November (I think I have that description correct?), and if Algonquin doesn’t renew them that’s good for us.
Investors might pull out—you’ve heard of all the divestment movements going on around the world? People, towns, cities, states, universities, you name it are divesting from banks that fund fossil fuel projects. Lots of forces outside of Weymouth and MA are working towards goals that will help everyone, no matter what happens in the White House.
In any case, we still have to educate ourselves about the dangers of having natural gas infrastructure so close to people. NPR did a story in 2011 about this. Everything holds true today except for some predictions about how regulations will help cut down pollution (super sad face). The Boston Public Health Commission has called on Baker “to ask him to drop his support for new natural gas pipelines until the state and federal agencies conduct comprehensive analyses to measure their effect on the climate and human health.”
Last thing in the note was an invitation to attend last night’s FRRACS air monitoring results meeting. More on this in Day #54.