(BOSTON) – State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) added her name to a long list of commenters this week in response to the public comment period issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) regarding the Weymouth Compressor Station.
At stake are two different issues, both with real public health impacts on the surrounding community. The first centers on MassDEP’s acceptance of a fossil fuel-powered motor as the best available control technology (BACT), when an electric motor drive would offer a cleaner alternative. The second involves MassDEP’s proposed placement, expected measurement capabilities, and delayed timeline for situating a permanent air quality monitoring station near the Compressor Station site. Yet to be installed, the monitoring station will be less effective in measuring pollutants in the proposed site than in others nearby and may not have the full measuring capabilities to capture 1-hour NO2 emissions and to observe local meteorological conditions.
“The DEP has an opportunity to select a BACT to mitigate public health impacts by reducing compressor emissions and the electric motor drive satisfies that,” said Representative Meschino. “I wrote this week to urge MassDEP to uphold its duty to protect residents, in particular those in the environmental justice community, by ensuring the use of an electric motor drive and by selecting a more effective placement, an increased array of measuring equipment, and an accelerated timeline in constructing the permanent air quality monitoring station in Weymouth.”
The Fore River Basin is immediately adjacent to a state designated environmental justice community. Moreover, the Basin has unique geographical and meteorological characteristics, which can exacerbate pollution in the area. The air quality monitoring station thus offers a means for residents to hold Enbridge, the owner of the Compressor Station, accountable for increasing dangerous levels of toxins and other pollution. “Together, these factors demand that MassDEP take every precaution and prudent action when determining where, how, and when the permanent air quality monitoring station is built,” said Representative Meschino.
The comment period on these two issues closed on Thursday, September 10, 2020.