Joan Vennochi wonders when scandals will start to stick to the ever-popular Governor of the Commonwealth. She concentrates mostly on the state trooper embezzlement/overtime scandal — which now looks like an obstruction of justice case, with the destruction of evidence. The Governor has been decidedly less than decisive and forthcoming.
But I’ve mentioned another brewing scandal — long ago reported by Itai Vardi in DeSmogBlog (where were our local news outlets on this one?): In the process of deciding whether to grant the company a permit for a compressor station in the already-polluted mouth of the Fore River, MassDEP apparently got told by Enbridge how to get them favorable results for an air quality study.
Citing reporting based on public records and published on the online advocacy blog DeSmog, Phillips said DEP staff accepted “coaching” from Enbridge — formerly known as Spectra — on how to model an air quality study.
Phillips also cited another DeSmog story reporting that Rhode Island’s Department of Health had provided data to the DEP warning of additional dangerous pollutants already present around the Weymouth site, but that the information was not included in the health impact assessment published soon afterward.
“These do not to me seem to be consistent with a neutral body that’s evaluating and serving as a regulator,” Phillips said.
This isn’t regulatory capture, this is regulatory drive-thru service. How can we help? Second window please.
Why does this matter? Pollution is a life-and-death matter:
Opponents say an air quality review ordered by Baker found dangerous levels of carcinogens already in the neighborhood, even before construction.
“This is Flint on the Fore River,” Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of Boston College’s Global Public Health Program, said at a press conference hosted by the college Monday. Landrigan compared the health impact of the compressor station to the polluted water supply in Flint, Michigan, and response by local government.
“We have an unresponsive state government who is refusing to look at the public health hazards, is refusing to look at the safety hazards,” Landrigan said.
As important as these local health considerations are — and they are as serious as cancer — this compressor is more fossil fuel infrastructure that hastens the demise of our livable ecosystem. There is simply no way that any responsible governmental entity should be permitting new gas pipelines. We don’t have the time.
At some point we may realize that Baker is not protecting the public’s interests, not taking care of business, and not showing leadership.