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Weymouth wants gas pipeline projects reviewed for combined impact

Spectra Energy’s Houston headquarters.
Spectra Energy’s Houston headquarters.(AP)

Mayor Robert Hedlund of Weymouth has asked state environmental officials to review the combined impact of two natural gas pipeline projects that include construction in the town.

Texas-based Spectra Energy plans to upgrade and expand its pipeline systems to bring in more natural gas from its network to New England and Canada in two separate projects called the Atlantic Bridge Project and the Access Northeast Project.

As part of the Atlantic Bridge Project, Spectra would build a new natural gas compressor station in North Weymouth, near the Fore River Bridge. The Access Northeast Project includes construction of at least 4 miles of new large gas pipelines in Weymouth and expansion of the new compressor station.

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Mayor Robert Hedlund of Weymouth
Mayor Robert Hedlund of Weymouth(handout)

In his letter to the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Hedlund said he was concerned that the projects had been divided to evade “meaningful review.” Hedlund said he was particularly concerned that the proposed compressor station would be in a densely populated area that is “already over-industrialized” and close to numerous existing hazardous sites such as the Citgo marine petroleum terminal.

“By breaking up what Spectra seeks to do in North Weymouth into two allegedly separate projects, I am concerned Spectra is trying to hide from everyone what is really going on,” Hedlund said in a March 21 press release. “No government regulatory agency appears to be considering all the effects the town of Weymouth and its residents may suffer because of these two projects.”

Spectra spokeswoman Marylee Hanley said the company was reviewing the mayor’s request, and pointed out that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is conducting an environmental review of the Atlantic Bridge Project, which is expected to be issued soon and will be available for public comment.

Construction has begun on some Boston-area portions of the total $1 billion combined project, which has been challenged unsuccessfully in court, most recently in West Roxbury.

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When complete, the project will deliver natural gas to National Grid, Eversource, and other energy distributors, which have said they need the extra capacity to meet consumer demand.

The natural gas will come from areas in the Northeast, Gulf of Mexico and Rocky Mountains, Hanley said.


Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com