Spectra Energy is the company that built the AIM pipeline. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the agency that approves what Spectra wants to do.
Jan. 23, 2015: Until this date, the public was permitted to submit online comments to FERC about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the AIM project (Docket No. CP14-96-000). (The document was over 100 pages and addressed the AIM pipeline as a whole. Our section of the pipeline, the WRL pipeline, is only represented by 1-2 pages within the document.) Before the deadline came, FERC issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the AIM project. Boston residents who signed up to receive a copy of the Final EIS noted that it was postmarked on Jan. 21, although the date Jan. 23 was printed on it. Clearly, it was written and finalized before the end of the public comment period.
Jan. 29, 2015: Senators Markey and Warren made their first statement of concern in a letter to the FERC chairperson that was co-signed by Congressman Lynch.
March 3, 2015: The deadline for the public to request “intervenor status” with regards to this project. On this date, FERC approved the project.
March 27, 2015 Algonquin submitted their Initial Implementation Plan to FERC.
April 2, 2015: The deadline for people/institutions who were already registered as intervenors to file a request for a rehearing.
April 17, 2015: Algonquin sent their answer to the intervenors’ Requests for Rehearing (Docket No. CP14-96-001) (PDF, 112 pages) They argued that the request for a rehearing should be denied.
April 21, 2015 Algonquin provided a supplement to their Initial Implementation Plan with FERC.
May 5, 2015 FERC wrote that Algonquin’s Implementation Plan “includes the information necessary to meet the pre-construction conditions in the Commission’s March 3, 2015 Order Issuing Certificate” and said that “we have confirmed the receipt of all federal authorizations relevant to the approved activity herein.” The construction approval applied to ten locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, one of which was Dedham Yard.
June 15, 2015 The deadline to submit comments to the Mass. Department of Public Utilities (DPU). To see the comments, go to the DPU website and enter the docket number 15-37.
July 2, 2015 Community organizations sent this objection letter to FERC.
Sept 10, 2015 Spectra Energy wins in court. Spectra can use parts of Washington, Grove and Centre Streets in West Roxbury by eminent domain, a judge ruled. Mayor Walsh later said that the City of Boston would not appeal the decision. News coverage: West Roxbury Transcript and Boston Globe.
Sept 17, 2015 Spectra files request for Notice to Proceed with construction. See the docket for more info. FERC approved Spectra’s request within 24 hours, authorizing Spectra to begin construction immediately.
Sept 25, 2015 Spectra published this notice about construction beginning on Rte 1 and on Washington St. in Dedham and West Roxbury.
Jan 13, 2016 A large number of trees were cut down at the site across from the quarry where the M&R station will be built. Spectra indicated that their upcoming construction plans (weather permitting) would include segregating topsoil, grading the land, and laying the foundation.
Jan 28, 2016 FERC finally denied the rehearing requests that were filed by last year’s April 2 deadline. As a result of the official denial, intervenors can appeal the denial in federal court.
Feb 3, 2016 Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that he would appeal the pipeline in federal court.
April 2016: The foundation of the M&R station was built:
April 29, 2016 A pipeline owned by Spectra exploded near Pittsburgh, Pa.
July 18, 2016 Until this date, the public was allowed to submit comments to FERC about a proposed rate increase to cover Spectra’s cost overruns.
July 27, 2016 A cement truck used by Spectra collided with and sheared off a utility pole on Joyce Kilmer & Glenhaven Rd. in West Roxbury (off the official detour route around the M&R construction site), causing a day-long power outage for residents.
August 2016 Although Eversource and National Grid withdrew their applications for contracts related to Spectra’s Access Northeast project, Spectra said they would continue to build the pipeline.
Dec 1, 2016 FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur spoke in Boston. Local activists attended and made their concerns known.
Dec 13, 2016 Senator Warren wrote to the FERC chairperson: “I urge FERC to suspend approval of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline until safety concerns are addressed.”
As of November 2016, construction was complete, and approval was given for the gas to begin to flow through the pipeline. According to the best information we have, as of Jan. 8, 2017, the gas is scheduled to begin flowing on Jan. 9.
Previously: Boston construction was on hiatus during the winter of 2015-2016 because the city does not allow non-essential digging in the street during the winter months. Construction resumed in Spring 2016 in Dedham and West Roxbury.
Landowners with questions about how the WRL construction affects them were told they could call Spectra’s 24-hour toll-free hotline at (866) 871-0356. They also posted updates on AIMExpansionProject.com under “Construction Updates.”
Did you know?
According to a June 2, 2015 email from Public Citizen’s Climate and Energy Program: “Public Citizen is calling for a dedicated office at FERC that not only advocates for consumers, but also provides funds for communities and public interest groups to intervene in FERC proceedings. In fact, it’s already written into law. In 1978, a consumer office at FERC with intervenor funding was passed into law, but it has never been created.”
“Former FERC Official Hired By Company With $1.8 Million Stake In Spectra Energy Pipeline Project He Had Reviewed,” by Itai Vardi, Desmog, June 6, 2016.
Published by Spectra
Spectra Energy: New Projects and Our Process Information about the AIM project, published on the website of the company that plans to build it.
AIMExpansionProject.com Another website by the company building the project.
“Spectra Speak” Entry on the “Shale Property Rights” (formerly “Spectra Energy Watch”) blog. Scroll to the heading “Track Record Looks Like a Rap Sheet.”
MILLENNIUM PIPELINE CO., L.P. v. GUTIERREZ
The FERC certificate was challenged by the Secretary of State of NY because of the Coastal Zone Management Action and the court ruled in favor of the Town of Cortlandt and other plaintiffs. United States District Court, District of Columbia. March 31, 2006.
National Grid was scheduled to have a public hearing on May 7, 2015 regarding their proposed 20-year agreement with Tennessee Pipeline Company LLC to transport gas from New York to Massachusetts. (This is different from the AIM/WRL project.) The Department of Public Utilities was to conduct the public hearing to receive comments on National Grid’s petition, immediately followed by a procedural conference, at the DPU offices in Boston. (Source: A PDF on National Grid’s website)
The Boston Globe compiled this reading list about fracking.