Mayor Walsh says he’ll appeal construction of West Roxbury pipeline in federal court

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied opponents’ request for a rehearing, which means an appeal in federal court is the only remaining option to challenge the project.

In July, hundreds of anti-pipeline activists rallied in Dedham against the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline.
In July, hundreds of anti-pipeline activists rallied in Dedham against the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline. –Dina Rudick / The Boston Globe

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday he will appeal a decision that allowed for a greatly contested natural gas pipeline to remain under construction in West Roxbury, according to The Boston Globe.

A subsidiary of Houston-based Spectra Energy Partners LP began construction on the pipeline last year after receiving approval in March from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The West Roxbury Lateral pipeline is a brand new five-mile stretch of pipeline that will act as a small addition to the already existing Algonquin Incremental Market pipeline that brings natural gas through four states: New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The new pipeline will deliver natural gas to National Grid, Eversource, and other energy distributors.

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The pipeline would continue all the way to Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood, running within hundreds of feet of two schools and a nursing home, and ending with a metering station, which would be built next to a blasting gravel quarry that uses dynamite on a regular basis.

“Mayor Walsh continues to be committed to fighting for the best interests and safety of the residents of West Roxbury,’’ a Walsh spokeswoman told the Globe in a statement. “Today the City of Boston, along with our partners at the federal, state and local level, made the decision to appeal the denial of the Request for a Rehearing in federal court.’’

Officials told the Globe the appeal would question the siting of the pipeline near the quarry and a residential neighborhood. FERC said they believe their review of the project has already addressed these concerns, the Globe reported.

If the courts reverse FERC’s approval of the pipeline, FERC does have the authority to force Spectra to reverse construction, dig the pipeline back up, and return property to its original condition.

 

Read the full story at the Globe.

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