Day #77 (late)

Pretty quiet on the “meeting scheduling” front. The whole State House is enmeshed in budget negotiations–the state budget is late. But, I’m making excuses for the Governor, LOL. His office can schedule something, especially since I wrote a very long and detailed letter requesting a site visit and a meeting for day 77:

Dear Governor Baker/Constituent Services-
Pursuant to the July 6, 2017 conversation on Boston Public Radio’s Ask The Governor, I’d like to formally re-extend invitations for a site visit and a meeting.

I can meet Governor Baker anytime, anywhere, at his convenience.

The site visit would be at Governor Baker’s convenience, as well.

Please let me know with whom I should coordinate so that these events happen soon.

Thank you so much,
Andrea Honore

😀

I also included a copy of the Town of Weymouth’s Notice of Claim (again) as this is the clearest reason yet to deny the Waterways “intention to” permit due to incompleteness of Enbridge’s application.

A new document was uploaded to the FERC dockets regarding the Town of Weymouth’s position regarding this whole mishigas. I hope to have a better copy to upload soon:

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Weymouth officials, you are the best! We are so lucky to have you in our corner, especially when I hear of other towns/cities across the US that fold in favor of the for-profit energy companies at the slightest nudge. Whatever happens in the future, we know we’ve ALL fought as long and as hard as possible

 

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Day #76

Sooooo, a funny thing happened before I made my way to Baker-sit.

I got live on the radio with Governor Baker. I finally got to talk to him! So did Rose W. of Cummington, MA:

— Rose’s question at 1:25:10 (thanks for the transcript, R!)
Thank you Gov. Baker for pledging to join the Climate Alliance.
Does that mean you’ll change your hands-off approach in opposing fossil fuel development like the Weymouth Compressor station, pipelines and LNG in the state?

Baker’s answer (with my notes)
60% of our current energy sources are natural gas, it would be pretty hard for us to walk away from that anytime soon. (No one is asking MA to walk away from current energy sources, just keep new, unneeded infrastructure out) And as we all know, the presence of natural gas has taken a ton of oil and coal out of our energy sector, which has been a good thing for a greenhouse gas point of view. (leaking methane and unburned gas released by gas infrastructure is worse than coal)

With respect to the compressor, I would just say the following. As I said before it’s a federal issue, but we do have a role to play here because we implement certain federal standards here (Misdirecting or does not have a good grasp on the process? MA’s role is to stringently review the STATE environmental applications. So far, that’s not happening). And we got a lot of really positive input from folks, Secretary Beaton and his team, during the public hearing process (Eh? From whom, for what? What public hearing process?). And we will hold those folks (Enbridge/Algonquin? I’m so confused, and I think he is too) to the highest standard possible under the federal law – you can count on that – with respect to both public safety, public health and any other issues associated with that.” (We want you to hold “those folks”, Enbridge/Algonquin, to the highest STATE standard. And you’re not so far)

Rose also wrote a rebuttal here.

— My question at 1:40:14
Jim: Andrea from Weymouth, you’re on Boston Public Radio with the Governor of the Commonwealth

Andrea: Hi everybody, thanks for having me on. Hi Governor Baker, it’s Andrea from your waiting room. Since I can’t talk to you in person, um,  at the State House, I would just like to speak to you over the radio and invite you to come down and have site visit at the proposed Weymouth compressor station location at 6 Bridge Street in Weymouth. We would love to have you!

Baker: I’ll talk to the scheduling people about it, Andrea. (I will hold you to that, Gov. B. Also, you pretty much just admitting you haven’t been to the site) I hope you’re being well taken care of in the office? (I would think casual listeners would wonder what he means by that comment. Jim, Margery, Baker and I know, though what he means. While Baker has been avoiding me for 76 days, his crack staff have been filling the gaps as best they can.)

Andrea: I am. Joyce and Victoria and the Constituent Services on down to, er, up to the Troopers have been incredibly nice to me, and welcoming and we have a great time, actually. (This is 100% truth) I would very much like to speak with you, though. (ALSO 100% truth)

Jim: Why isn’t the meeting happening, Governor? (Jim, Margery, Baker and I know what meeting Jim is referring to, heh)

Baker: I don’t know. I don’t know. Yeah, you know we get… I don’t know. (I know why I haven’t met with you.)

Jim: Andrea, thank you for the call. (No. Thank YOU!)

Margery: We get emails all the time about that same issue. (Margery, I don’t know you, but you’re a GEM. Also gems? The people who have advocated on my behalf to Boston Public Radio <3)

 

Today, the indefatigable Carolyn B. joined me on the couch. Thank you!

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Day #75 (late)

Pretty low key day. Really, the day was practically asleep.

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I do think that the Governor was there, behind the door, but he didn’t come out, LOL.

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I turned in a leftover sign from Action Week. Truly lazy.

 

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Day #74

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Today marks the last day of Action Week, and boy are my actions tired! Definitely need a little break over this long weekend. Today seven people joined me in the hallway (no signs in the waiting room). It was great meeting new people this week, and some of them had never been to the State House before. I was honored to give them the opportunity!

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I brought a note today as I just couldn’t resist.

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I printed my blog post about the Access Northeast project being withdrawn, a meme I made from a Zoolander still, and an article I saw today with a particular quote that made me L O L on the train this morning.

Here’s one last visual (made by FRRACS) to help everyone understand what happened yesterday, as it pertains to Weymouth:

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Have a great weekend everyone!

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HUGE news!

The story below is a great picture of what’s going on right now, with notes from me.

FYI: WE ARE STILL FIGHTING THE ATLANTIC BRIDGE WEYMOUTH COMPRESSOR PROPOSAL.

Lacking financing, utilities put $3 billion natural gas pipeline plan on hold

By Jon Chesto GLOBE STAFF  JUNE 29, 2017

Eversource and National Grid, the two biggest utilities in the state, are shelving a $3.2 billion natural gas pipeline project known as Access Northeast until they can find a way to pay for it.

Their partner in the project, pipeline operator Enbridge Inc., notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Thursday of the decision to withdraw the application for the project.

The companies argue that the pipeline expansion is needed to bring cheaper natural gas to the region’s power plants, particularly on cold days, when demand rises. But they need more time to build political support for legislation that would allow the costs to be shouldered by electricity customers.

In August, the state Supreme Judicial Court struck down a plan put forward by the Baker administration to have electricity ratepayers pick up the tab for the pipeline expansion, ruling it wasn’t permissible under state law. As a result, other New England states put similar proposals on hold.

[NOTE: my bold. Re-read that sentence… Gov. Baker put forth an ILLEGAL plan to charge us billions for a pipeline we don’t need, want, nor would we get the gas]

“Once we work through the legislative [support], we’ll be able to reengage the FERC filing process and be back on track,” said Brian McKerlie, a vice president at Enbridge.

[NOTE: Enbridge has to say stuff like this. They have shareholders to keep happy. The reality in the State House is much different. NO ONE wants this mess in Mass]

Access Northeast is the second massive natural-gas project in New England to be shelved because of financing problems. Kinder Morgan suspended a major pipeline plan last year.

Natural gas expansion has become one of the most hot-button issues in Massachusetts politics, with opponents fighting pipelines at every turn. Three smaller, previously approved projects — a proposed Enbridge compressor station in Weymouth, a recently completed Enbridge pipeline through West Roxbury, and a Kinder Morgan spur in Sandisfield — were not directly affected by last year’s SJC ruling.

[NOTE: Translation? We are STILL fighting the Weymouth compressor proposal]

McKerlie said the hope was to start construction next year on Access Northeast, a 125-mile project that mostly involves replacing pipes with larger ones in Massachusetts and Connecticut to expand the capacity of Enbridge’s Algonquin Gas Transmission line.

[NOTE: ANE also included a compressor in Rehoboth, a liquid natural gas (LNG) storage tank in Acushnet, and a horsepower upgrade to the theoretically existing Weymouth compressor that would more than double its horsepower]

In Massachusetts, the project would mainly involve municipalities west and south of Boston, from West Boylston down to Canton. Construction would have taken as long as three years. But now the timing is unclear.

McKerlie said Enbridge’s acquisition in February of Spectra Energy, the pipeline company that had been leading the charge for Access Northeast, had nothing to do with the decision to withdraw from the federal review process.

[NOTE: The delays caused by opponents of the Weymouth project figured heavily into this. The compressor is a year behind schedule]

Last year’s Massachusetts court decision was a setback for the two utilities, but they said at the time that they would continue to seek a way to pay for Access Northeast.

They say Access Northeast could reduce electric bills by as much as $1 billion a year across New England. They argue that a new infusion of lower-cost natural gas would more than offset the cost of a tariff, allowing power plants to burn gas on cold days, when that gas is often diverted for heating and isn’t available for making electricity.

[NOTE: NO.]

Critics argue that electricity ratepayers would see their bills skyrocket to help pay for the natural gas expansion. They say less expensive or more environmentally friendly solutions — more renewable power, for example, or liquefied natural gas storage and shipments — are available.

The Conservation Law Foundation, whose lawsuit led to the SJC decision, didn’t seem ready to celebrate on Thursday.

“It’s positive news [and] reflects that the region has moved on and natural gas is not finding the opportunities or the welcome that it expected in New England,” said Greg Cunningham, a vice president at the Boston environmental group. “We, however, expect there will be an ongoing presence of Spectra and Kinder Morgan at our state houses and interacting with ISO New England over the next year.”

Grid operator ISO New England, which is responsible for making sure the six states have enough electricity, remains concerned about the region’s increased reliance on natural gas as older coal-fired and nuclear power plants shut down. The utilities will play up that concern as they lobby for a change in state law that could allow Access Northeast to go forward.

“It’s clear that the New England ISO is gravely concerned about reliability in the region,” said John Flynn, a senior vice president at National Grid. “The need for this project is not in doubt. . . . Hopefully, we can get cooler heads to prevail and get the votes we need.”

[NOTE: Are you kidding me?]

The partners could find a tough audience at the State House. The Senate last summer voted to oppose any effort to pass on natural gas pipeline costs to electricity customers. House leaders could be more amenable, but dozens of rank-and-file members last year signed a petition opposing natural gas expansion efforts.

“That unanimous vote in the Senate last year, that’s a tough one,” said Dan Dolan, president of the New England Power Generators Association. “I don’t know how you convince them. And frankly, the politics have moved more in that direction [of opposing natural gas].”

[NOTE: A “tough one”? Really? It’s what is right, safe, and forward thinking rather than backwards thinking]

Lee Olivier, executive vice president at Eversource, said the partners also need legislation passed in New Hampshire, but not in the other New England states.

“We’re in the outreach process, speaking with legislators and listening to legislators about what they would like to see,” Olivier said.

Olivier said the companies could go directly to the FERC to seek approval to charge electricity ratepayers but prefer to work with state officials first.

[NOTE: Thanks for the threat, but with FERC in shambles, you can go pound sand]

Typically, the costs of smaller pipeline projects can be passed on to residents and businesses that use natural gas for heating. But the Access Northeast partners say they prefer to spread the project’s expense over the much larger number of electricity customers in the region, instead of trying to impose it on the smaller group of gas users. The focus of Access Northeast, they said, is on providing fuel for power plants, not for heating homes.

[NOTE: Come one, now, we know the gas is for export, and we might get about 10% of the gas only when we need it. Maybe. However, according to one power plant, BELD in Braintree, they will NOT be getting the gas.]

Ian Bowles, managing director at WindSail Capital Group, said finding the right mechanism to pay for Access Northeast isn’t simple.

“I think more gas in the region is a good insurance policy as we make a transition to clean energy,” said Bowles, a former state energy secretary. “I don’t think it’s important enough that I want to subsidize it.”

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com.

IMPORTANT TO REPEAT, AGAIN: WE ARE STILL FIGHTING THE ATLANTIC BRIDGE WEYMOUTH COMPRESSOR PROPOSAL.

Here is the letter that Enbridge/Algonquin filed with FERC yesterday: 20170629-5214(32239168)

There are some whoppers in the letter, but I think you all know enough now how to spot them 😉

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