WEYMOUTH — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will further explore public safety concerns associated with the Weymouth Compressor Station, though it’s unclear what impact that could have on the facility.
The commission in September gave the Canadian company that built the compressor station approval to put the facility into service. In response, the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station, the city of Quincy, and other petitioners requested the commission revoke the authorization and reconsider its approval of the project.
FERC on Thursday voted to take a look at several issues associated with the compressor station, including whether the station’s expected air emissions and public safety impacts should prompt commissioners to reexamine the project.
Members of the citizens group opposed to the compressor station said they are investigating what FERC’s decision on Thursday means for operations of the station.
State Sen. Patrick O'Connor, a Weymouth Republican, said the commission's decision suggests "the fight is far from over."
The controversial compressor station is part of Enbridge’s Atlantic Bridge project, which expands the company’s natural gas pipelines from New Jersey into Canada. It has been a point of contention for years among residents of the area, who say it presents serious health and safety problems.
Last fall, local, state and federal officials called for a halt of compressor operations when two emergency shutdowns caused hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of natural gas to be released into the air.
Max Bergeron, a spokesman for Enbridge, said last month that the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has approved the station going into full service.
Bergeron said in an email Thursday afternoon that the company was aware of the commission's discussion and vote, and that the project was "extensively and thoroughly reviewed" during the permitting process, which started in 2015.
"The in-service authorization previously received from FERC for the Weymouth Compressor Station remains valid, and we remain committed to continuing to operate the compressor station safely and responsibly," he said.
Algonquin Gas Transmission, a subsidiary of Spectra Energy, received initial approval for the compressor station in January 2017 from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Enbridge later acquired Spectra. The company also needed several state permits, all of which were granted by regulators despite vehement and organized opposition from local officials and residents. The Town of Weymouth alone filed two dozen lawsuits and spent more than $1.6 million in legal fees attempting to stop the project.