Weymouth: Legislators, Residents Protest Gas Compressor Ruling

Close to a hundred people took part in a protest at the site of a proposed natural gas compressor station in Weymouth.

The State Department of Environmental Protection issued an air-quality permit for the compressor station, which was proposed by Enbridge Energy. The proposed site is near 50 Bridge Street, adjacent to the Fore River Bridge.

The station would be part of a gas pipeline that would run from New Jersey to Beverly Mass.

Alice Arena, the President of the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station – FRACS – says the compressor station would set a dangerous precedent.

“We always felt that we were a guinea pig. That this is the smallest piece of land ever for a transmission gas compressor,” said Arena. “It is also the only transmission gas compressor that will be in a designated port in an urban location.”

In addition to concerns over more toxins in the air, Arena feels that the nearby salt water would corrode pipes, leading to an accident.

Legislators from around the state joined protesters, along with the Mayors from Weymouth, Braintree, and Quincy.

“When you look at where these compressor stations are housed, and the 50 to 80-mile radius they need to put on, they’re not on 4.3 acres of land,” said State Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Plymouth and Norfolk). “This is an irresponsible siting and I think it sets a precedent, not only for the Commonwealth, but for the entire country – that if it’s allowed here it can be allowed anywhere.”

Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund says the process is “rigged” at the federal level, and he’s disappointed with the state’s decision.

“The regulators are basically the industry. We thought our best hope lied with the state. Under the process, really the only power the state has is in a couple of areas – one being the issuance of the air permits,” said Hedlund. “We’re disappointed because this was our one big, big card to play. It came down to [Governor Charlie Baker’s] administration siding with the industry over the residents he was elected by to protect.”

Arena says there’s still a long fight ahead, and those interested in joining can go to NoCompressor.com.  

There is now a 21-day appeal process for the permits.

Residents stood along Bridge Street in Weymouth to protest the compressor station. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Residents stood along Bridge Street in Weymouth to protest the compressor station. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

State and local legislators joined the close to hundred people at the protest. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

State and local legislators joined the close to hundred people at the protest. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Close to 100 people met at the proposed compressor station site. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Close to 100 people met at the proposed compressor station site. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Front: Alice Arena, President of the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station, speaks at the protest. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Front: Alice Arena, President of the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station, speaks at the protest. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

About Lenny Rowe

Lenny Rowe is one of the newest additions to the WATD News team. He grew up in Pembroke and was an intern at WATD in 2012. A 2016 graduate from Suffolk University, Lenny left the City of Boston and now lives in Rockland. Lenny has covered both news and sports, from the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Outside of WATD, Lenny covers high school sports for The Boston Globe. Lenny can be reached at Lenny.Rowe30@Gmail.com