Contacts: Karina Wilkinson, Food & Water Watch, Massachusetts, [email protected]
Alice Arena, Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station, [email protected]
Courtney Williams, Stop the Algonquin Expansion and Safe Energy Rights Group, [email protected]
A coalition of a dozen environmental groups, two impacted Weymouth, Massachusetts residents, and the city of Quincy filed a federal appeal with the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit today challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of the controversial Atlantic Bridge project.
Food & Water Watch, Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS) and grassroots groups from three states and the City of Quincy argue that because of a lack of quorum at FERC, the waivers of the 30-day deadline to respond to the groups’ requests for rehearing that FERC staff issued on the certificate approving the project as a whole, as well as a construction permission for Connecticut, are invalid. On that basis, the groups are allowed to proceed directly to federal court. FRRACS engaged DC-based attorney Carolyn Elefant, Esq. to file the appeal.
The town of Weymouth made a similar argument in a petition filed with the same court yesterday.
Local, state and federal elected officials, and citizens along the entire pipeline route have repeatedly cited the flawed FERC review of the project, which they say is not supported by substantial evidence. Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey have asked for the Certificate of Approval of the Atlantic Bridge Project to be rescinded, particularly because of the lack of a quorum blocking groups rights to a rehearing.
Karina Wilkinson, Massachusetts Local Coordinator for Food & Water Watch, said: “We are appealing FERC's approval of the Atlantic Bridge project because the agency failed to address serious health, safety, and environmental concerns associated with this dangerous, unnecessary project. Conflicts of interest with the environmental consultant FERC hired and recent revelations that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection allowed the company to edit their air permit to make it more favorable to them demonstrate that the entire process is deeply flawed and the court should force the approval to be withdrawn.”
Alice Arena, Lead Coordinator of FRRACS, stated: "FERC never gave serious consideration to the potentially devastating health and safety implications for the environmentally sensitive and industrially overburdened Fore River Basin. With two federally and state recognized Environmental Justice communities in Quincy, within the 1/2 mile radius of the proposed station, along with a dense residential population in North Weymouth and seven polluting industries already in the Basin, this site is the worst possible place for another toxic and dangerous facility. FERC never did due diligence in our community and simply took Spectra at its word for everything. Without a quorum, FERC's issuance of a tolling order in response to our motion for a rehearing is untenable. "
"Spectra has clearly taken their massive expansion of the 'Algonquin' Pipeline and broken it up into smaller projects to avoid proper assessment of the environmental impacts,” said Courtney Williamsfrom Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) and SEnRG, NY. “Many streams and wetlands will be crossed by Spectra's Atlantic Bridge project, and hundreds of communities will be impacted by construction and infrastructure, yet FERC refused to produce a full Environmental Impact Statement. Add to this the shoddy science in the environmental assessment, numerous conflicts of interest, and the segmentation of the AIM and Access Northeast projects, and I am shocked that FERC continues to operate the way it does. We should be transitioning as quickly as possible to clean energy, not deepening our dependence on fossil fuels."
The coalition partners are: FRRACS (MA), Food & Water Watch (national), Berkshire Environmental Action Team (MA), Capitalism v. the Climate (CT), Eastern CT Green Action, Grassroots Environmental Education (NY), Keep Yorktown Safe (NY), 350 MA South Shore Node, Safe Energy Rights Group (NY), Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (NY), Toxics Action Center (New England) West Roxbury Saves Energy (MA), Weymouth (MA) Councilwoman Rebecca Haugh (as an individual), Weymouth (MA) resident Sandra Peters and the Town of Quincy (MA).