Mass. DEP Issues Air Permit for Weymouth Compressor Station

A little good news coming from New England, for a change. Over objections of radical anti-fossil fuel nutters, the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Friday granted an air permit for a compressor station in Weymouth. The compressor station is part of the Spectra Energy/Enbridge Atlantic Bridge expansion project, stalled since 2017. The administration of MA Gov. Charlie Baker (RINO) issued an air permit for the project in January of this year (see Antis Outraged: Massachusetts Gov Approves Weymouth Compress Stn). Antis promptly challenged the DEP permit, dragging out the process another six months.
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Enviro Judge Allows Weymouth, MA Compressor to Advance

Artists rendering of how the plant will look (click for larger version)

A compressor station planned for Weymouth, Massachusetts, part of the Spectra Energy/Enbridge Atlantic Bridge expansion project, has been stalled since 2017. The administration of MA Gov. Charlie Baker (RINO) finally issued an air permit for the project in January of this year (see Antis Outraged: Massachusetts Gov Approves Weymouth Compress Stn). Antis promptly challenged the Dept. of Environmental Protection permit, dragging out the process another six months. Yesterday a “hearing officer” (we’d call her a judge) for the DEP ruled the permit issued by the DEP “does not violate Massachusetts statutory and regulatory provisions.” The hearing officer recommends that the DEP issue a Final Decision affirming the air permit. Victory!
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Tardy Test Results Not Enough to Block Weymouth Compressor in Mass.

Anti-fossil fuelers in Massachusetts who are desperate to block a federal (and state) approved compressor station from getting built in Weymouth, MA continue to use a mix-up at the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (over air sample test results) as an excuse to bully the DEP into reversing its decision to grant a permit for the project. The DEP, to its credit, is not caving to the pressure.
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Antis Try Last Desperate Attempt to Block Mass. Compressor Station

Anti-fossil fuel kooks in Massachusetts are desperate to block a federally (and state) approved compressor station from getting built in Weymouth, MA. Antis have one remaining, way-outside chance of blocking the project: Bully the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) into reversing the permit it has already issued for the project.
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Lib Doctors Opposing MA Compressor the “Anti-Vaxxers” of Energy

You know who anti-vaxxers are, right? The parents who won’t give their children vaccines because they fear the vaccines may give their kids autism or allergies. Because of this anti-vaxxer movement, there’s been a recent resurgence in measles–particularly in New York City. A group calling themselves Physicians for Social Responsibility is trotting out scare tactics to oppose a pipeline compressor station in Weymouth, Massachusetts. One writer calls them the anti-vaxxers of energy. We love it!
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Weymouth, MA Loses Fed Court Case to Block Compressor Station

The folks of Weymouth, Massachusetts have for years tried to block a new compressor station project, part of a Spectra Energy/Enbridge project to beef up capacity along the Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline. Algonquin filed a lawsuit against Weymouth Town and its conservation commission in District Court of Massachusetts. The court ruled in Algonquin’s favor and the town appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
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Battle Over Weymouth, MA Compressor Stn Continues in Fed Court

Credit: YouTube

In January 2017 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted final approval for the $452 million Atlantic Bridge expansion project (see FERC Approves Atlantic Bridge Project for New England/Canada). The Spectra Energy/Enbridge project beefs up capacity along the Algonquin Pipeline, along with more capacity for Spectra Energy’s Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, to carry more Marcellus/Utica gas into New England and (eventually) all the way to Nova Scotia, Canada. Most of the project is now done–except in Massachusetts where a critical compressor station planned for Weymouth is stalled.
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FERC OKs Atlantic Bridge to Begin Service in Connecticut

In January 2017 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted final approval for the $452 million Atlantic Bridge expansion project (see FERC Approves Atlantic Bridge Project for New England/Canada). The Spectra Energy/Enbridge project beefs up capacity along the Algonquin Pipeline, along with more capacity for Spectra Energy’s Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, to carry more Marcellus/Utica gas into New England and (eventually) all the way to Nova Scotia, Canada. Much of the project is now done–except in Massachusetts where a critical compressor station planned for Weymouth is stalled (see Massachusetts Blocking Atlantic Bridge Pipeline from Completion). Some good news to report on the project in neighboring Connecticut: FERC has given the green light for the Connecticut portion of the project to be placed into service…
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Enbridge Buying Out Balance of Spectra Energy for $3.3B

In Feb. 2017 Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge Inc. completed an all-stock deal to buy out pipeline operator Spectra Energy (based in Houston) for $28 billion (see Spectra Energy is No More – $28B Merger with Enbridge Complete). Spectra has a number of critical pipeline infrastructure projects in the Marcellus/Utica region, including the still-on-life-support Access Northeast pipeline to New England, the mighty NEXUS pipeline that spans Ohio, and the now completed Algonquin Incremental Marketing (AIM) pipeline project. Spectra also built the Access South, Adair Southwest and Lebanon Express projects to expand one of the largest natural gas pipelines in the U.S. (and in the northeast)–the Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) pipeline. Even though Spectra is a wholly-owned subsidiary and essentially an arm of Enbridge, some of Spectra’s ownership still belongs to outside investors via a master limited partnership (MLP). We’ve previously written about MLPs disappearing following the Trump tax cut (see our MLP/Trump stories here). Enbridge says its time to chase in all of the outstanding shares owned by others and has just struck a deal to buy out Spectra’s MLP common units for $3.3 billion…
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Antis Still Can’t Come to Terms They Lost NY AIM Pipe Case

Big Green antis thought they could stop the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project–an expansion of the existing Algonquin pipeline system designed to carry 342 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to New England states that badly need the gas. On March 3, 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final approval for the project. Construction began in 2015 and, following extreme opposition from New York State over a small portion of the project near the Indian Point nuclear plant (which will shut down in a few years anyway), AIM finally went online in late 2016. In what has become a typical pattern, Big Green groups asked FERC to rehear their decision to approve AIM, FERC refused, and Big Green then filed a lawsuit in federal court. But two weeks ago the federal court told the antis “no,” crushing their efforts to roll back the expanded pipeline (see DC Circuit Court Denies Anti Request to Rehear AIM Pipe Approval). That should be the end of the matter. There’s no place left to go, court-wise, except maybe (one in a million odds) to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet the antis, still disbelieving they’ve lost, are threatening to pursue it legally. Some unstable people just can’t let go…
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DC Circuit Court Denies Anti Request to Rehear AIM Pipe Approval

The Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project is an expansion of the existing Algonquin pipeline system designed to carry 342 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to New England states that badly need the gas. On March 3, 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued their final approval for the project, allowing it to go forward. Construction began in 2015 and, following extreme opposition from New York State over a small portion of the project, it finally went online in late 2016. New York’s radical, anti-drilling governor, Andrew Cuomo, tried to stop the Algonquin using the flimsy excuse that some of the drilling for the pipeline would happen a half mile from a nuclear power plant–a plant that’s shutting down anyway. A few weeks after Cuomo requested FERC shut it down, FERC told him “no”–which was the cue for Big Green groups to file an appeal with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to force FERC to rehear/reconsider their approval (see Radical Enviro Groups File Appeal to Stop AIM Pipeline in NY/CT). They asked the D.C. court to tell FERC to deny AIM after all because, they say, the project should have been lumped in with consideration of a second project, called Atlantic Bridge. Hope springs eternal for antis. Even though the completed project has been up and running for a year and a half, they still hoped they could roll back the clock and stop the extra gas flowing through AIM with their lawsuit. Those hopes were dashed on Friday when the D.C. court denied the rehearing request…
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NY Asks FERC to Hassle AIM Pipeline, Restrict Flows

Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project is an $876 million expansion of the existing Algonquin pipeline system designed to carry 342 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to New England states that badly need the gas. On March 3, 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued their final approval for the project, allowing it to go forward. Construction began in 2015 and, following extreme opposition from New York State over a small portion of the project, it finally went online in in 2016. New York’s radical, anti-drilling governor, Andy Cuomo, tried to stop the Algonquin using the flimsy excuse that some of the drilling for the pipeline would happen a half mile from a nuclear power plant–a plant that’s shutting down anyway (see Gov. Cuomo Asks FERC to Halt Algonquin Pipeline Near Nuke Plant). A few weeks after Cuomo requested FERC shut it down, they told him “no”–which was the cue for Big Green groups to file an appeal with the liberal District of Columbia Court of Appeals (see Radical Enviro Groups File Appeal to Stop AIM Pipeline in NY/CT). Didn’t work. New York State’s two radically leftist Democrat Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, the Senator nobody knows about and nobody cares about, tried to stop it too (see NY’s 2 Radical Senators Call for Halt in Building Algonquin Pipeline). Didn’t work. Now that the pipeline expansion has been up and running safely for more than a year, you’d think they would give up. Nope. Cuomo previously ordered a “safety analysis” of the project, back in 2016. That report was just released (executive summary embedded below) and four state agencies, all under the executive branch umbrella (i.e., under Cuomo’s thumb), jointly wrote a letter to FERC asking FERC to further hassle the AIM project by restricting flows along it and shutting it down when work to decommission the nearby nuke plant begins…
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Eversource Looks to Reactivate Access Northeast Pipe Project in NH

In May MDN reported that a recent New Hampshire Supreme Court decision *may* breathe new life into a New England natural gas pipeline project believed to be dead (see NH Supreme Court Decision Puts New England Pipe Back in Play). The Access Northeast pipeline project would cost ~$3 billion and would connect four different pipeline systems: Texas Eastern, Algonquin Gas Transmission, Iroquois and Maritimes & Northeast. One of the backers is Eversource (formerly called Northeast Utilities), a utility company that desperately needs the gas that would flow through the upgraded system. Eversource had filed a rate case in New Hampshire requesting permission to pass along some of the cost of the pipeline to its electricity customers–because they will directly benefit from the pipeline delivering gas to electric power plants operated by Eversource. NH refused, and it was that refusal that was overturned by the State Supreme Court. The new news is that Eversource has withdrawn their original request because they are about to submit a brand new request for the same thing–and this time NH will have to approve it. Bottom line: The Access Northeast project appears to have rekindled to life, at least in NH…
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FERC Defends Atlantic Bridge Pipe Approval in DC Circuit Court

In January 2017 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted final approval for the Atlantic Bridge expansion project (see FERC Approves Atlantic Bridge Project for New England/Canada). The Spectra Energy/Enbridge project beefs up capacity along the Algonquin Pipeline, along with more capacity for Spectra Energy’s Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, to carry more Marcellus/Utica gas into New England and (eventually) all the way to Nova Scotia, Canada. Much of the project is now done–except in Massachusetts where a critical compressor station planned for Weymouth is stalled (see Massachusetts Blocking Atlantic Bridge Pipeline from Completion). Weymouth itself along with a smattering of radical environmentalist groups filed a lawsuit against FERC, claiming FERC did a “shoddy environmental review” before approving the project, arguing FERC’s approval should be overturned by the court. On Tuesday FERC fired back asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to toss the frivolous lawsuit and let them get on with finishing this critical project…
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NH Supreme Court Decision Puts New England Pipe Back in Play

A recent New Hampshire Supreme Court decision may breathe new life into a natural gas pipeline project believed to be dead–or at least on life support. Spectra Energy (now owned by Enbridge) first announced an unnamed pipeline project to shuttle gas from the Marcellus/Utica to New England in July 2014 (see Spectra Energy to the Rescue! New England Pipeline Expansion). In September 2014 Spectra announced they had named the project Access Northeast and added Northeast Utilities–now called Eversource Energy–as a partner (see Spectra Energy New England Pipeline Gets a Name & a Partner). In December 2014, Spectra formed an alliance with a competitor, the Iroquois Gas Transmission pipeline, to further extend the reach of the project (see Spectra Energy Alliance with Iroquois to Sell Marcellus Gas to NE). The project is pegged to cost around $3 billion and would connect four different pipeline systems: Texas Eastern, Algonquin Gas Transmission, Iroquois and Maritimes & Northeast. But then Spectra/Eversource was dealt a body blow by Massachusetts in 2016 (see MA Supreme Court Ruling Endangers New England Gas Pipelines). The project was dealt a second body blow in 2016 by New Hampshire when regulators said Eversource could not pass along some of the costs of the pipeline to electric rate payers (see NH Regulators Veto Access Northeast Pipeline Contract). The NH Supreme Court has just overturned the ruling by NH regulators and has said yes, Eversource CAN pass along some of the costs, because electric customers will directly benefit from the pipeline project…
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