“Due to the risks of COVID-19, local organizers from FRRACS are discouraging any in-person action at the compressor station construction site aside from car rallies. We are turning to social media to take action.”
Have you heard about the Weymouth compressor station? It’s a doozy. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is a serious fan—so much so that construction on the project has continued through the pandemic. Other aren’t as enthused; here’s how the facility’s loudest opponents, Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS), described it long before COVID-19 arrived in the Commonwealth:
Spectra Energy, now known as Enbridge, [is building] a 7,700-horsepower Fracked-Gas Compressor Station adjacent to the new Fore River Bridge in North Weymouth, which will adversely affect South Shore residents.
This facility has no business being in this location—or any location. Compressors are usually built in rural areas given their environmental, health, and safety risks. The Weymouth Compressor Station would be built in the most densely populated location ever in a coastal area in the United States. The compressor is not needed in the Basin or anywhere else.
This compressor is part of the Atlantic Bridge pipeline project, which Spectra Energy is building to bring fracked natural gas through New England and into Canada. The compressor was also a component of the Access Northeast project …
The Weymouth compressor station saga encapsulates all these demoralizing aspects of climate catastrophe, replicated all too often in other energy projects. The conscious suicide of locking in decades of greenhouse gas emissions. The corporate greed. The regulatory capture. The bureaucratic inertia.”
And the truth is that the project should never have gotten this far in the permitting process anyway—if conflicts of interest laws have any meaning. When it was revealed back in 2016 that the contractor hired by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to review the project was working at the same time for the pipeline company (Spectra Energy then, Enbridge now) on a related project, and, when outed, lied about disclosing the work, FERC just shrugged. Incredibly, the commission even repeated the lie in its approval for Atlantic Bridge. The same deafening silence fell soon after, when it was exposed that the husband of FERC’s own project manager on Atlantic Bridge was consulting for a related Spectra Energy pipeline project.
FRRACS was unable to stop construction of the compressor station before the pandemic. Needless to say, activists have been less than excited to see work continue through the surge, especially as Governor Baker has publicly boasted about taking safe and responsible measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. In response, FRRACS dubbed this a “Week of Action to Stop the Weymouth Compressor,” publishing an “action guide” that reads:
Governor Baker is calling the Weymouth Compressor Station essential, putting lives at risk. This project is not, and has never been essential. Take action with us!
Due to the risks of COVID-19, local organizers from FRRACS are discouraging any in-person action at the compressor station construction site aside from car rallies. We are turning to social media to take action.
Every day this week we will target a key decision maker in stopping construction. A central part of this strategy will be directly asking our friends to participate as well. If 10 people each invite 2 more friends to join and those friends then each invite 2 more friends, that’s 70 people taking action – and that’s just the beginning!
When they say “week,” they’re not just talking about Monday through Friday. Plans are as follows (starting with “Day 1,” Monday, May 4):
Day 1 – Email MA Governor Baker and Weymouth Mayor Hedlund
Day 2 – Share Memes to Spread the Word
Day 3 – Sign and Share Petition to Governor Baker
Day 4 – Write to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Day 5 – Write to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Day 6 – Write to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Day 7 – Report back to Gov. Baker and Mayor Hedlund on the week
“A fracked-gas project is *not* essential,” state Rep. Mike Connolly, who visited the site Monday, wrote on Facebook. “As we deal with the impacts of COVID-19 and continue to face the climate emergency, new fracked-gas infrastructure will *never* be acceptable in our communities!”