For a fun family day of art and political activism, join the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS), the Braintree Art Association and other environmentally conscious South Shore residents and artists on Sunday, June 23 for their Painting in the Park event at King’s Cove Park in Weymouth, Massachusetts.
The event’s purpose is to raise awareness of the environmental and public safety concerns surrounding the proposed frack-gas compressor station planned to be constructed next to the Fore River Bridge.
Frack-gas compressor stations are typically constructed in less-populated rural areas due to the high risks associated with these structures. The purpose of a compressor station is to increase the pressure in the pipes to increase the speed of the natural gas in order for it to be able to travel further distances. The goal for this specific compressor station would be to move the Enbridge Energy Partners’ (formerly known as Spectra Energy) Algonquin Gas Transmission and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline systems through the Northeast to be burned in Canada.
The proposed location for this compressor would be the most densely populated site for a compressor ever built in the United States. Leaks and explosions from similar compressors have been widely documented and the effects of one in such a densely-populated area so close to the waterfront could be catastrophic. Located in a flood zone, the area is already struggling with industrial pollution and higher cancer risks. Critical infrastructure like the brand new Fore River Bridge and the MWRA sewage pumping station along with homes and schools would be subject to increased air and noise pollution along with strong odor issues that would — setting aside the health and environmental impacts — most definitely decrease property values.
The project has been called “morally repugnant,” that anyone supporting it is supporting private interests over human health. Many ethical concerns have been raised over the project, too. Conflict-of-interest allegations have been purported that Enbridge and its regulators at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) were improperly collaborating. Reports from the independent DeSmogBlog revealed the DEP allowed Enbridge to edit their air quality permit and instructed the DEP on how to measure their emissions models.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s support of the compressor station has been under scrutiny as well. Multiple investors in the project, including Enbridge and National Grid, are coincidentally generous campaign donors to Baker. (Eversource, another Baker campaign donor, had a previous investment in the failed Atlantic Bridge project that had included the Weymouth compressor station.) Governor Baker has personal investments in the fossil fuel industry, and lobbying firms for the proposed Weymouth compressor station also have very close ties to Baker and the Democratic party (which controls the state legislature); one such lobbyist, Bill Weld, grips a role as “political mentor” to Baker.
There is no public vote on the project and little public input. The project’s fate will be decided by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This agency has been notorious for approving these stations in spite of local opposition. FRRACS stands united with Mothers Out Front, the governments of Weymouth, Quincy, Braintree and Hingham, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Attorney General Maura Healy, Congressman Lynch, State Senators Patrick O’Connor, John Keenan and Walter Timilty, State Representatives Bruce Ayer, Ronald Mariano, James M. Murphy, Mark Cusack, Joan Meschino, Patrick Kearney, Josh Cutler and James K. Hawkins, Mass Health Care Providers Against Fracked Gas, Mass Nurses Association, Sierra Club Massachusetts, New England Grassroots Environmental Fund and many more in staunch opposition to the project. The public is encouraged to come and make art and discuss the concerns around the proposed frack-gas compressor station near the Fore River Bridge. There will be a children’s art table as well as materials and instructions available on how to get started.
(FRRACS’ Art in the Park event is Sunday, June 23 in King’s Cove Park and Walkway, 55 Bridge Street, North Weymouth, Massachusetts from 1–4 p.m. For more information on the event, visit nocompressor.com/calendar/2019/6/23/painting-in-the-park. To learn more about FRRACS, visit nocompressor.com. To read more about the Weymouth gas compressor safety of emissions hearings, visit wgbh.org/news/local-news/2019/05/16/two-days-into-weymouth-gas-compressor-hearings-safety-of-emissions-disputed.)