Controversial Weymouth compressor offline again

Boston Statehouse

Massachusetts State House

BOSTON (SHNS) – Energy giant Enbridge shut down its controversial Weymouth natural gas facility again Thursday, a move that the company said would allow for maintenance work and that prompted another round of calls for the compressor station’s closure.

As WBUR first reported, Enbridge filed a document Thursday evening declaring a “force majeure,” indicating a shutdown for unplanned reasons. Enbridge spokesperson Max Bergeron confirmed Friday that the facility is offline.

Bergeron said there was “minimal venting” of natural gas involved in the shutdown that was “well below reporting requirements.” “It is standard practice to declare a Force Majeure when a compressor station becomes unavailable for service,” Bergeron said in a statement. “This process allows our customers to plan. In this case, we identified maintenance work to be performed and notified our customers that the Weymouth Compressor Station would be unavailable while the work was performed.”

The compressor station, which received all necessary state and federal permits, released large volumes of natural gas during three previous publicly reported shutdowns — two in September and one in April. Those incidents drew renewed criticism from lawmakers, environmental and health groups, and local residents who oppose the facility’s operation.

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey on Friday said he believes the compressor should be shut down permanently.

“The Weymouth Compressor Station’s fourth shutdown in a matter of months is a sign that it should not be operating now or ever,” he tweeted. “It’s dangerous, unnecessary, and a clear and present threat to public safety.”

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