WEYMOUTH (CBS) - Federal regulators say the Weymouth Compressor Station likely should never have been built for a host of safety and health reasons, but it's too late to revoke the license. The decision to keep the natural gas facility open is a big blow to many residents who have been calling for a shut down due to safety concerns.
The Enbridge compressor station began operating in Weymouth in 2020, pumping natural gas into Maine and Canada.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission determined Thursday not to revoke its right to operate after it launched a review following two emergency shutdowns.
"We have a commission that is passing the buck," said Weymouth resident Alice Arena, who was among a group of protesters outside the station Thursday night.
Those living in the neighborhood are disappointed, saying the station poses health and environmental concerns.
"Just close the plant completely, shut it down," neighbor Paul Burwell said. "Biggest concerns are the health and the construction."
"This facility, like so many facilities in this area, spews toxins," Arena said. "If there is an accident here, there is no escape, no escape for the residents."
The commission's chairman said residents' concerns are legitimate but doesn't believe there is a legal basis to shut it down.
"It's cold comfort to be told they are now looking at it, saying we made a mistake, we made a mistake in the siting in the beginning, but we are unwilling to do anything about that," Arena said.
Enbridge is pleased with the move, stating, "We remain committed to safely and responsibly delivering natural gas for New England families and businesses."
Residents WBZ spoke with say despite the decision they will continue to put pressure on state and local lawmakers to ensure this facility is run safely.
Senator Ed Markey said he will continue to fight with legislation to get the station shut down.
"It is an understatement to say that I am deeply disappointed that FERC did not move to rescind the authorization for the Weymouth Compressor Station," Senator Markey said in a statement.
"While Chairman Glick acknowledged that the compressor station's location should never have been approved, FERC failed to act to protect the families in Weymouth and surrounding cities that already bear the negative health and environmental impacts of multiple industrial facilities in their community. Doing better going forward isn't going to help the people of Weymouth living right now in the shadow of this dangerous fossil fuel facility. We're going to fight with legislation, with the agencies, and shoulder-to-shoulder with local leaders and grassroots activists to get the compressor station shut down once and for all."
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