Less than a week after workers vented an unspecified amount of natural gas as part of an emergency shutdown, energy giant Enbridge asked federal regulators for the green light to start up a Weymouth compressor station in two weeks.
The company filed a request Wednesday to place the station on the banks of the Fore River, between densely packed neighborhoods in Quincy Point and North Weymouth, in service by Oct. 1, asking for a decision by Sept. 24 so its customers have a chance to prepare for gas supplies.
"In order to meet the needs of our project customers ahead of the upcoming winter heating season, we are requesting approval to place the Weymouth Compressor Station in service by October 1, 2020," Enbridge spokesman Max Bergeron wrote in a Thursday morning email. "The Weymouth Compressor Station will enable three local gas utilities in Maine and one in Canada to benefit from additional access to natural gas, helping homes and businesses switch from higher-emitting fuels to cleaner-burning natural gas."
The station is currently in the testing process after a lengthy permitting fight. On Friday, a gasket failure prompted crews to trigger an emergency shutdown and release at least 10,000 cubic feet of natural gas.
Following the incident, Congressman Stephen Lynch urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to shut down the project immediately for additional oversight before work proceeds, warning that it poses "an immediate public safety threat to the residents of Weymouth and its surrounding communities."
Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said Enbridge followed the proper safety and notification protocols after the gasket failure, and rather than shutting down Enbridge is angling to ramp up operations.
Enbridge is seeking the Weymouth station as part of its Atlantic Bridge pipeline infrastructure. Compressors are placed at points along pipelines to ensure that natural gas flows at sufficient speeds and pressure to reach faraway destinations.