Atlantic Bridge

After Approving Enbridge Permit, Massachusetts’ Environment Secretary Lands Job with Project’s Contractor

Read time: 4 mins
Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary

Massachusetts’ Secretary for Energy and Environmental Affairs, Matthew Beaton, has accepted a position at a consulting firm working for oil and gas pipeline builder Enbridge on a controversial project for which Beaton’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently approved a crucial permit.

Governor Charlie Baker’s administration announced on Monday that Beaton has been hired as vice president for renewable energy and emerging technology at TRC Companies, a large environmental and engineering firm working mainly for the oil and gas industry.

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. 

Government Contractor Monitoring Enbridge’s Atlantic Bridge Gas Project Works Extensively for the Company

Read time: 5 mins
Enbridge building

A contractor working for the federal government to monitor construction of Enbridge’s Atlantic Bridge natural gas project works for the company in various other capacities, according to documents DeSmog obtained through an open records request.

Early last year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project, which aims to upgrade Enbridge’s natural gas capacity in the Northeast U.S. The Atlantic Bridge project was originally initiated by Spectra Energy, which was purchased by Enbridge last February.

Michael Gove

Michael Gove

Credentials

  • B.A., English, Oxford University. [1]

Background

Read time: 16 mins

Liam Fox

Liam Fox

Credentials

  • Medicine, University of Glasgow. [1]

Background

Liam Fox is a former Secretary of State for International Trade and Conservative MP for North Somerset. [2]

Read time: 13 mins

Michael Hintze

Michael Hintze

Credentials

  • MBA, Harvard Business School. [1]
  • MSC. in Acoustics, University of New South Wales. [1]
  • Doctor of Business, University of New South Wales. [1]
  • BSc. Physics and Pure Mathematics, University of Sydney. [1]
  • BEng. Electrical Engineering, University of Sydney. [1]

Background

Read time: 5 mins

FERC Allows Conflicted Contractor to Supervise Enbridge’s Atlantic Bridge Gas Project

Read time: 4 mins
FERC protest

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is permitting a contractor with a known conflict of interest to monitor Enbridge’s Atlantic Bride natural gas project. This decision joins a growing list of apparent conflicts of interest involved in the project, as DeSmog has extensively reported.

In an internal FERC memorandum sent this week, FERC’s ethics officer authorized the commission’s Office of Energy Projects to continue using a third-party contractor, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), that had produced the project’s environmental assessment. While the work of such contractors is paid for by the pipeline company, they are considered independent reviewers laboring under the supervision of FERC staff who must vet for possible conflicts of interest.

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.   

Emails Show Spectra Lobbyists Cozy With Top Massachusetts Environmental Officials

Read time: 7 mins
Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton speaking

As Spectra Energy was seeking state permits for its natural gas projects running though Massachusetts, company lobbyists maintained a close and ongoing relationship with top state environmental officials, according to emails obtained exclusively by DeSmog through an open records request. 

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