Day #106 (late)

I was “out of the office” today (and may be again at some point next week).

Yesterday I brought some laws with me. I had help compiling these, and the explanations, and I thank those people whose writings I referenced for the below:

When I say MA has laws that should protect us from a project like the compressor, well, here are some.

The most fascinating part about this process so far is how DEP reads English way differently than the rest of us do, AND they make puzzling determinations based on these readings. (emphasis added by me with bold and underline).

Regarding water-dependency and the word “required”

Enbridge states that the compressor is a water-dependent thing. It’s not. No such transmission gas compressor exists on the planet. The town of Weymouth had to pay money to have that point proven. Somehow, in an alternate universe, the Hubline gas line was determined to be “water-dependent.” HINT: it’s not. So DEP is trying to say that because of some BS water-dependency that was agreed to years ago by DEP, that the compressor gets grandfathered that status (??) AND

310 CMR 9.12(1) states that all projects must be classified as water-dependent or nonwater-dependent.  However, the MassDEP did not make such a classification, because they said they did not have to once the compressor station was found to be ancillary to the existing Hubline.

9.12: Determination of Water-dependency(1) Prior to issuance of the public notice, the Department shall classify the project as a  water-dependent use project or as a nonwater-dependent use project. The Department shall classify as a water-dependent use project any project which consists entirely of:
(a) uses determined to be water-dependent in accordance with 310 CMR 9.12(2); and/or
(b) uses determined to be accessory to a water-dependent use, in accordance with 310 CMR 9.12(3).
Any other project shall be classified as a nonwater-dependent use project.
310 CMR 9.12(1) 

310 CMR 9.02 states that a facility qualifies as an ancillary facility only if the facility “requires an adjacent location” to the original facility.  However, the MassDEP did not agree the seven alternative locations, five of which were landlocked, meant that the proposed compressor station does not “require an adjacent location” to the Hubline.

A landlocked site doesn’t sound required nor water dependent, right? {heavy sigh}I

Regarding air/pollution:

The compressor station emissions will cause air pollution as defined in the regulation below, but the MassDEP again disagrees. There are peer-reviewed studies out there about compressor emissions, in fact, here’s one, from university researchers across the US.

OK, back to MA laws… the relevant MA regulation states:

AIR POLLUTION means the presence in the ambient air space of one or more air contaminants or combinations thereof in such concentrations and of such duration as to:
(a) cause a nuisance;
(b) be injurious, or be on the basis of current information, potentially injurious to human or animal life, to vegetation, or to property; or
(c) unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property or the conduct of business.
310 CMR 7.00.

Regarding Environmental Justice laws:

Environmental Justice populations are located within half a mile of the site, the MassDEP concluded that the compressor station emissions do not meet the necessary threshold to trigger a more detailed review in connection with the Environmental Justice populations. This isn’t Enbridge’s first rodeo, they know how to submit numbers that they know no one will check, and these numbers will pass muster.

The MassDEP has taken the position that, unless the compressor station emits more air toxics, volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants, the current regulations do not require MassDEP to provide any consideration for the Environmental Justice populations given the projected emissions of the proposed compressor station. So, basically, build the thing, and if people start keeling over, then maybe do something about it?

MassDEP and the governor’s office must give the Environmental Justice populations a heightened level of review given that the station will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

From the 2017 EOEEA Environmental Justice Policy

p. 4-5, “Working with … EJ populations, EEA will take direct action as part of the implementation of this Policy to restore degraded natural resources, to increase access to open space and parks, to address environmental and health risks associated with existing and potential new sources of pollution, to appropriately address climate change, and improve overall quality of life by

  • Enhancing opportunities for residents to participate in environmental, energy, and climate change decision making;
  • Enhancing the environmental review or new or expanding significant sources of environmental burdens in these neighborhoods; . . .
  • Ensuring that existing facilities in these neighborhoods comply with state environmental, energy, and climate change rules and regulations;
  • Ensuring that positive economic development that is consistent with environmental protections is a chief priority for EJ populations throughout the Commonwealth.”

HONESTLY. WTF. Follow the laws, follow the laws, follow the laws!

I also brought a letter with me from a 4th grade student in Weymouth, Savannah Lydon. I am including her letter with her mom’s permission. Beautiful letter, too bad Gov. Baker isn’t doing right by her so far. See the image below to locate the park she speaks of. The existing building is the MWRA sewerage treatment plant.

Wednesday February 13, 2019

Dear Governor Baker,

I am writing to let you know that I do not want the compressor station to be built at the Fore River Bridge in Weymouth. First, I think the compressor station should not be built in Weymouth because they could let out toxins and gasses that could pollute the air. During cleaning or repairs, the gas will pollute the air and ocean. I live close to the park they might put it in and whenever I want to go outside all I would be breathing in is the toxins and that would make me sick. 

The next reason I don’t want the compressor station to be in Weymouth is because there are lots of animals in the park they might put it in. The animals will lose their beautiful habitats. Also, birds will have to breathe in all of the toxins. I have a bunny and she lives outside and the toxic gasses will hurt her and that would break my heart if she has to go to the hospital. I strongly believe that the compressor station will ruin the landscape of Weymouth.

They might put the compressor station in a nice quiet park and then when I want to go to the park it will just be a big compressor station. I went to look at the park they might put it in and it is such a beautiful landscape. Why put it here? Why hurt us, your people?


Savannah Lydon

Grade 4

8 Replies to “Day #106 (late)”

  1. It is infuriating to read DEP’s interpretation of the law. In fact their interpretation borders on conflict of interest, and agency bias. It is truly outrageous.

    Thank you for sharing the sweet letter. I hope her letter, and her words can add some degree of warmth to the cold individuals making terrible decisions.

  2. There will be about 17 letters from 4th grade students in Weymouth on their way to Governor Baker this week. I sincerely hope he reads them and not just his staff. He has to do right by the children who will be in schools just 2 miles from the site.

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