February 2, 2019 by Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham Residents Against the Compressor Station Board members Brittney Gammell, Dawn Murray, Michelle LeBretton, Jennifer Mathien
The fight against the proposed natural-gas compressor station in nearby Weymouth continues.
Although unwilling to commit to any specific future action, the Selectmen decided last November to apply for intervenor status with the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection related to the potential issuance of an air quality permit for the much-opposed compressor station proposed at Fore River on Rte. 3A in Weymouth.
The Hingham Residents Against the Compressor Station group continues its efforts to stop the project because it would be located about two miles from the nearest part of Hingham. In addition, about 30,000 commuters daily travel the Fore River Bridge, including a large percentage of Hingham residents.
Recently the Selectmen took their own concerns a step further when they unanimously voted in favor of filing the appropriate paperwork to appeal the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s recent issuance of the air quality permit for the proposed station by the Feb. 1 deadline. This is in support of similar actions by the Town of Weymouth and two Hingham and Weymouth citizen intervenor groups.
Filing for intervenor status does not obligate the town legally or otherwise to take any additional action related to the project but preserves the town’s right to do so if necessary.
There is also strong opposition among Weymouth, Braintree, and Quincy town officials and residents. “This could be a long haul for the South Shore,” said Selectman Mary Power earlier.
Hingham Residents Against the Compressor Station supporters raising money to fight the proposed compressor during a charity cycle ride at Cycletown. Proceeds from the ride were donated to the legal defense fund of the Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station.
Some HRAC members were present for the vote and were pleased that the Selectmen decided to take their concerns to the next level. “HRAC members are so grateful that the Selectmen voted to appeal the air quality permit,” HRAC President Jenn Mathien said after the meeting. ” This is an appropriate and measured step to ensure that the health and safety of Hingham constituents are not compromised as a result of this incredibly irresponsibly sited fracked gas project. Air quality at the site of the compressor affects Hingham — air does not stop at the town border. This air is already compromised even before the addition of the carcinogen-spewing compressor.”
In response to the results of Gov. Charlie Baker’s mandated Health Impact Assessment, Mathien said HRAC members “adamantly disagree with the assessment’s conclusion that there are no significant health risks.
Hingham Residents Against the Compressor Station President Jennifer Mathien, speaks to Governor Charlie Baker regarding HRAC’s concerns about the proposed compressor at a local political fundraiser in October 2018.
“Given the limitations of the assessment, we simply do not know the true impacts the proposed compressor station would have on the health, safety, economy, and environment of Hingham,” Mathien stated in a letter to the Selectmen. “We do know, however, that if there is an impact on Hingham, it will be negative. We also know that appeal is the only way for Hingham to preserve our legal rights.”