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.”
January 2017 The gas began flowing through the WRL pipeline.
February 27, 2017 Enbridge Inc. merged with Spectra Energy Corp, creating the largest energy infrastructure company in North America with about $126 billion in enterprise value.
June 29, 2017 The Access Northeast project is on hold. The Atlantic Bridge project, however, is still in the works. Andrea Honore keeps a blog of her ongoing effort to speak with Gov. Baker about the Spectra/Enbridge compressor station in Weymouth that would be part of that project.
July 8, 2018 Anthony Pugliese, FERC chief of staff, was interviewed by Breitbart News Sunday. Commentary from Morning Energy said that, on the show, Pugliese was “expounding on the resilience virtues of coal and nuclear power, the Transportation Department’s progress on cutting regulations, and how much the Trump administration is doing to improve American lives in places like his home state of Pennsylvania. Although Pugliese didn’t take most of the bait being thrown at him from a host who called renewable energy a ‘subsidy pit’ and in what ways FERC might be trying to rollback Obama-era rules, he took a big swipe at the Democrats in the Northeast for opposing natural gas pipelines.”
The gas began flowing in January 2017.
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. Spectra also posted updates on AIMExpansionProject.com under “Construction Updates.”
Washington, D.C. – Court case: Boston v. FERC – Oct. 19, 2017
The Washington, D.C. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals was scheduled to hear the City of Boston case to overturn Judge Young’s eminent domain ruling in favor of Spectra/Enbridge regarding the WRL Metering and Regulation station in West Roxbury. This includes the appeal from the Town of Dedham and a coalition of environmental groups and abutters. Both appeals were filed Feb. 2016.
USCA Courtroom 31 – Judges Henderson, Srinivasan, Williams
16-1081 City of Boston Delegation v. FERC – 20 minutes per side
A little history: We learned back on Feb. 3, 2016 that Boston would appeal the pipeline in federal court. In this endeavor, we appreciated the support from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Congressman Stephen Lynch for their commitment to our heath and security.
- “Mayor Walsh To Appeal Federal Regulators’ Decision On West Roxbury Pipeline,” WBUR, Feb, 4, 2016.
- “Mayor Walsh says he’ll appeal construction of West Roxbury pipeline in federal court,” by Meagan McGinnes, Boston.com, Feb. 4, 2016.
- “Mayor Walsh to fight West Roxbury pipeline in federal court,” by Dan Adams, Boston Globe, Feb. 3, 2016.
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.