Atlantic Bridge wins legal victory after Court of Appeals launched legal action

A Massuchusetts appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging one of the approvals for the Weymouth natural gas compressor station along the Atlantic Bridge project, which carries supplies from the Appalachians to Canada.

A three-judge panel agreed with the Supreme Court of Justice judge’s ruling that residents of Fore River Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS) could not seek judicial review of Weymouth’s compressor approval. The approval was issued by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). The group did not have the right to be heard by an agency and therefore could not seek judicial review, the appeals court said. The appeal committee also agreed with the judge that the FRRACS did not meet other standards under which it could have sought judicial review.

In its decision, the panel said that “nothing in the wording of the law, legislative intent or regulatory scheme indicates that the public can seek judicial review of a determination of the consistency of the CZM.” [AC 21-P-149].

The Weymouth compressor was one of the last pieces of the Atlantic Bridge project to be commissioned by Enbridge Inc.’s subsidiary, Algonquin Gas Transmission (AGT). The expansion added 132,705 Dth / d to the AGT and Maritimes & Northeast (M&NE) pipeline systems in New England, which transport gas to Canada.

AGT includes 1,129 miles of pipelines in New England, New Jersey and New York. M&NE has 346 miles of pipeline in the northeast and 543 miles in Canada.

AGT and the Maritimes applied for a certificate for the construction of the Atlantic Bridge in 2015. Although approved by federal regulators in January 2017, AGT took three more years to complete the online project following opposition from environmental groups.

Since its commissioning at the end of 2020, the Weymouth compressor has experienced two unplanned shutdowns. The first occurred immediately after commissioning when emergency shutdowns resulted in the release of gas into the air. The force majeure lasted from October 1, 2020 to January 24. A second force majeure event was declared in April.

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