Massachusetts

Exclusive: Air Permit OK’d After New Evidence of Carcinogens at Enbridge’s Planned Gas Facility in Massachusetts Left out

Read time: 6 mins
Billboard against the Weymouth gas compressor station in Massachusetts

In the Greater Boston area, Enbridge is planning to build a controversial natural gas facility at a densely populated site which already has elevated levels of previously unreported carcinogens, documents obtained by DeSmog suggest.

Despite receiving new information indicating the current presence of these pollutants in the air around Enbridge’s proposed gas compressor station in Weymouth, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) did not include the data in the project’s health impact assessment (HIA) which it oversaw. The assessment, which was published 10 days later, found that human health likely will not be affected by direct exposure to the station.

Massachusetts Hired Energy Industry Execs to 'Independently' Review State’s Gas System

Read time: 5 mins
Gas marker in Cambridge, Massachusetts

A private contractor employed by the state of Massachusetts to conduct a statewide safety review of its gas distribution companies hired gas industry executives for the project, documents obtained by DeSmog show. They include two former executives of National Grid —  one of the companies under review — and Enbridge, a main supplier of gas in the state.

Enbridge Gave Massachusetts Studies by Climate Denier, ALEC Associate in Gas Project Assessment

Read time: 7 mins
report book papers

As part of an ongoing health evaluation of a proposed and contested Boston metro area gas compressor station, the energy distribution company Enbridge shared with the State of Massachusetts materials from dubious and controversial sources. As documents obtained by DeSmog reveal, these include studies by a climate change denier and an official associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Koch brothers-backed group working to undermine environmental regulations. 

14 New Massachusetts State Reps Support 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Read time: 12 mins
Kids holding pro-renewables signs at a Gulf of Mexico drilling lease protest in New Orleans in 2016

By Stacy Clark

With the swearing in of new members last week, the Massachusetts legislature, not unlike the U.S. Congress, is receiving an infusion of brand-new state representatives who already are pushing an aggressive agenda focused on addressing climate change and transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050.

So far, 14, or over half of the 24 new recruits, have formed an informal but unified group known as GreenTeamMA. Their initiatives are straightforward. They’ve agreed to refuse campaign contributions from fossil fuel PACs, they support carbon pricing, and they’ll be working with constituents to drive higher demand for wind, solar, and hydropower in the Bay State, where today almost one-sixth of electricity comes from renewable sources.

Supreme Court Blocks ExxonMobil's Effort to Conceal Decades of Documents in Probe of Oil Giant's Climate Deception

Read time: 4 mins
ExxonKnew protesters in T-rex costumes

By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams

The high court's ruling means the company must hand over records to the Massachusetts attorney general for her ongoing investigation

In a win for climate campaigners and Massachusetts' Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected ExxonMobil's attempt to block Healey's demand for documents related to her state's ongoing investigation into allegations that one of the world's largest oil and gas corporations deceived the public and investors for decades about how fossil fuels drive global warming.

In Massachusetts, 'Independent' Studies of Gas Infrastructure Use Industry Data and Consultants

Read time: 7 mins
No compressor billboard

Massachusetts has contracted two major studies of its natural gas infrastructure, billing both assessments as “independent” efforts. Yet the fact that they use industry consultants and data has raised doubts among critics about their level of objectivity.

While one study is evaluating the state’s overall gas distribution system, the other assessment explores the potential health risks associated with Enbridge’s proposed compressor station in Weymouth, just south of Boston.

What Terrible Injustices Are Hiding Behind American Energy Habits?

Read time: 7 mins
Wayuu woman makes soup in La Guajira, Colombia

When someone charges a cellphone or flips on the lights, what costs are felt by the far-off communities that produced the coal or gas powering that home? What happens to those same communities when a utility decides to switch from coal power to natural gas? And what keeps these impacts of American energy habits hidden from view?   

New research helps provide some clarity. A study led by Noel Healy from Salem State University in Massachusetts analyzes the hidden but interconnected injustices that can occur throughout the world’s fossil fuel supply chains.

Massachusetts Gas Explosions Draw Scrutiny of Natural Gas Safety and Climate Risks

Read time: 6 mins
House damaged by natural gas explosion in North Andover, Massachusetts

A quiet, sunny afternoon in New England quickly turned to chaos and tragedy as a series of 80 fires and explosions erupted across three communities in the Merrimack Valley north of Boston on September 13. Extreme overpressure in a Columbia Gas distribution system caused uncontrollable natural gas venting over a wide area, and the resulting blasts killed one and injured more than two dozen.

In the wake of this disaster, scientists and environmentalists are raising questions about the safety and climate impacts of Massachusetts’ aging natural gas infrastructure and the wisdom of continuing to rely on this fossil fuel.

Massachusetts Admits to 'Regularly' Allowing Companies to Edit Draft Pollution Permits

Read time: 4 mins
Protesters hold signs in the parking lot outside the Massachusetts DEP office

Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) acknowledged they regularly allow energy companies to exclusively preview and revise draft permits as a matter of common practice.

This admission follows DeSmog’s reporting on emails showing the state had quietly provided Spectra Energy (now Enbridge) several opportunities to edit a draft pollution approval permit for a compressor station in the town of Weymouth as part of its Atlantic Bridge gas project.

Massachusetts Let Spectra Energy Secretly Edit its Pollution Permit in Atlantic Bridge Gas Project

Read time: 6 mins
Open house poster showing a Spectra Energy map of its Atlantic Bridge and other pipeline projects

Massachusetts environmental officials allowed Spectra Energy to quietly review and edit a draft approval of an air pollution permit the state plans to grant the company for its Atlantic Bridge gas project. 

According to emails obtained by DeSmog through an open records request, this privilege of reviewing and editing the draft approval was granted exclusively to Spectra and not to the general public.   

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