Because I didn’t go into the city on MLK Day, this day turned out to be #90, and what a way to mark it! Today is the day for the yearly “Lobby Day” where Mass Power Forward gathers members of their coalition and helps shepherd folks through appointments with their elected officials to talk about clean energy legislation. I really like these kinds of programs, and wish more people could try it.
As part of Lobby Day, there was a support visit scheduled for me as I sit in Gov. Baker’s office. When I got there, everyone was gathering. Since I have been involved with this, I have met so many wonderful and incredibly dedicated individuals and groups. To know I have their support is so great.
Claire from Toxics Action Center was the MC, and soon had everyone lined up, including me. Someone made me stand still for a second so I would actually be in a picture. I’m usually running around taking pictures and video, so it made me laugh.
Usually I don’t speak much at these things or fumble a bit through 30 seconds of something, but today, I actually spoke. Like, I wrote something to read. Alice Arena of FRRACS also spoke, and it’s all at this link here.
What I said was mostly what I have written here before, but I’ll paste the text at the end of this post. Constituent Services Director Nick B. came up to see what was going on, and to make himself available for attendees to talk to him and/or leave comments on their signs along with their information.
Nick is great. Attentive and present. But, I’m afraid all of our comments will go into the Baker Black Hole, not because of Nick, but because of Baker not caring.
There were around 100 people there, here are some shots:
See the signs everyone is holding? This is important: there are other new gas projects being proposed in MA: Agawam “upgrade” to an existing compressor station and pipeline, and a massive LNG campus (as I call it) in Charlton. Neither of these projects can be allowed to happen.
Thank you to everyone, again!!
Text of speech:
Thank you for coming to show support for Weymouth, for the South Shore, for Massachusetts. Please hold reactions, or make soundless ones TY! Welcome to day 90!
I left Gov Baker’s waiting room on Day 82, July 17, 2017, after he issued a letter asking for a Health Impact Assessment, coastal resiliency study, and an investigation of safety and security. I hoped this letter meant he might finally understand what’s at stake here. Nope.
In the 18 months since he issued the letter, Baker and his administration have made a series of terrible decisions, resulting in one BIG, horrible decision: an air permit for a polluting gas compressor in the already over-polluted Fore River Basin.
BAD DECISIONS are:
- Baker waited ELEVEN months to start the HIA. A valid HIA takes 18-24 months, he gave it 6.
- Baker underfunded the HIA. A valid HIA costs about $1M, he gave it $100k
- Baker’s administration has not done an investigation of the safety and security of such an exposed site nor addressed coastal resiliency as it applies to the siting of the compressor in a FEMA flood zone
- Baker never spoke to me, he never visited the site, and never spoke to any area residents.
Side note: Gov Baker hides from Weymouth. The closest he’s come in over 3 years is Hull and Cohasset. Massachusetts has a $244m Fore River Bridge that’s been done for about a year and a half that hasn’t had a grand opening celebration. Why? That bridge should be a feather in everyone’s cap. I digress.
So, based on a HIA that seemed to be custom made for a clear path: Gov. Baker approved the air permit.
Gov. Baker has said his hands were tied regarding the air permit. That is a lie. States have rights, or why have a permit process? Massachusetts can deny any permit for this compressor based on really important things like the Federal Clean Air Act, the Federal Clean Water Act, especially the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act. The State can deny permits based on requirements for air and water quality, and wetlands ordinances. NY state has done just that, and it held up in court.
This fight is NOT just about Weymouth. Remember Access Northeast? Projects like this NEVER stay dead, especially when Enbridge is SO CLOSE to getting their self-described Trojan Horse built: the Weymouth compressor. Either Enbridge will figure a way out to charge gas ratepayers for part of ANE, split the more of the cost with utilities OR (gasp) they might even pay for it themselves. Either way, ANE will be a reality if the Weymouth compressor gets built, and Gov Baker knows that. There are billions of dollars to be made by making MA a gas highway to Canada for export.
Gov. Baker is one of the only elected officials who wants this compressor, except for a small handful of other captured officials. From Municipal to State to Federal level, the overwhelming majority of elected officials DO NOT want this compressor! Why does Baker want it?
Over 70% of Plymouth and Norfolk County re-elected Baker. Whether he likes it or not, he has even more of mandate to protect our air, water, and land. It’s his job. I won’t let this go until he either revisits the air permit and/or denies all further final permits for this project.
WE won’t let this go!
Thank you all so much for being here, and for your support. I thank you and Weymouth thanks you!