A natural gas pipeline called the West Roxbury Lateral has been proposed by Spectra Energy at National Grid’s request for more capacity. This 5-mile spur from the larger AIM (Algonquin Incremental Market) project that covers four states is coming from Westwood, through Dedham, into West Roxbury. The plan is to build an M&R (Metering and Regulating) Station across from the active quarry on Grove Street. The lines in West Roxbury will be high-pressure and are a new pipeline, not replacement pipes for older, smaller ones, as is the case elsewhere on the Algonquin pipeline project.
—Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project expands the capacity of the existing Algonquin Gas Transmission system. The Algonquin Pipeline runs for 1,127 miles from New Jersey and New York through southern New England and is 100% owned by Spectra Energy Partners and operated by Spectra Energy.
—Spectra Energy (headquartered in Houston, Texas) is a Fortune 500 company formed in 2007 as a spin-off from other energy firms. Spectra and its predecessor firms have for nearly a century been developing pipelines and related infrastructure. For more information about Spectra Energy, go to spectraenergy.com.
—The expansion plan includes approximately 5.1 miles of a new high-pressure spur known as the West Roxbury Lateral, proposed to run from Westwood, through Dedham, up Washington Street and along Grove Street, to a proposed new Metering and Regulating (M&R) Station at Grove and Centre Streets, across from the quarry. The West Roxbury Lateral will be part of Spectra/Algonquin’s infrastructure. The project anticipates completion by November 2016.
—From Westwood to the new M&R Station, the West Roxbury Lateral is designed as a high-pressure transmission line, with 16” and 24” diameter pipes and pressures of 750psi. At the proposed M&R Station, the high-pressure gas will be metered and regulated to enter the lower-pressure local distribution system of National Grid.
—National Grid says they propose to use the additional gas capacity to improve reliability of gas service in West Roxbury by increasing available pressure and to provide gas for potential new customers on their system.
—Other local M&R Stations are located at 590 Charles River Street, Needham;
60 Walnut Street, Wellesley; 100 Park Road, Weston; 1430 Trapelo Road, Waltham.
—The AIM project falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The project participated in FERC’s “pre-file” process starting in June 2013; its application for a certificate was filed in February 2014; and its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was published by FERC in August 2014. All public documents associated with the filings, including comments on the DEIS, are available on the FERC website: ferc.gov. Docket #CP14-96-000.
Timeline as we understand it: In June 2013, Spectra/Algonquin notified FERC of the AIM project and began the required statutory process of notifying the City of Boston, abutters, and local civic associations of their intention to build the West Roxbury Lateral to provide additional gas capacity for National Grid. FERC issued its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in August 2014. The comment period on the DEIS ended on September 29, 2014, but comments posted to the docket until October 10, 2014, were read. About 10 days before comment period closed, Spectra added supplemental materials to their submission on the AIM project. The Final EIS originally had a projected issuing date of mid-December 2014. However, due to further information requested of Spectra by FERC in October 2014, this original issuing date was postponed and ultimately was issued on January 23, 2015. In the meantime, the Mass Dept. of Energy Resources (DOER) engaged a consultant to conduct a study (docket #RFR-ENE-2015-12) to determine whether new infrastructure is required in the natural gas and electric markets given updated supply-and-demand assumptions. This study was released on January 7, 2015 (PDF). DOER phone number: 617-626-7300.
To download the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for AIM go to: http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?document_id=14240487
To download the Final Environmental Impact Statement for AIM go to: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20150123-3038
To read the comments posted to the docket of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and see other documents related to AIM, go to ferc.gov, docket #CP14-96.
To contact Spectra Energy’s Project Office, call 866-873-2579, or contact Marylee Hanley, at 617-560-1573 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook: West Roxbury Dedham Spectra Energy Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion
To listen to the audio of the Oct. 8 Community Meeting:
Please note: these files do not appear in order. Follow the chronological times for each section to listen to them in correct sequence.
To voice comments and concerns about the AIM West Roxbury Lateral:
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office: Chris Lange, 617-565-3170
Senator Ed Markey’s office: David Brade, 617-565-8519
Congressman Stephen Lynch’s office: Katherine Shea, 617-657-6305
Mayor Walsh’s Chief of Civic Engagement: Jerome Smith, 617-635-3485
Oct. 8 Community Meeting Follow-Up
Because Spectra did not send representatives to the Community Meeting on October 8 (in spite of requests they do so from Congressman Lynch’s office, two from the Mayor’s Office, from FERC, and in person from WRSE when we met with them on Oct. 2), they asked that I supply them with questions resulting from the Oct. 8 Community Meeting and they would supply answers. Here are the questions, submitted to Spectra on Oct. 15. Below these questions is the pdf link to review the answers sent by Spectra on Nov. 13. Unfortunately they grouped the questions together and gave one answer to multiple questions and frequently did not supply the specific details we asked about. I am responding to try to garner those details. I will post any further response if it comes in.
Questions for Spectra Energy
Generated by the West Roxbury Community Meeting October 8, 2014
1. If an explosion happened along any point in the five-mile pipeline, what would the blast radius be? How many residents and homes would be affected by the blast and the ensuing fires?
2. If an explosion happened at the M&R Station, what would the blast radius be? How many residents and homes would be affected by the blast and the ensuing fires?
3. In the event of an emergency, how long would it take Spectra and/or National Grid to turn off the gas to the line and to the M&R Station to avoid further damage and lost of life? (It took PG&E approximately 1.5 to 2 hours in the San Bruno blast.)
4. What safety precautions will be taken to avoid an explosion at any point in the line?
5. What activities and events are likely to cause an explosion along the line or at the M&R Station? What is Spectra doing to prevent such events from occurring?
6. Knowing that promising with 100% certainty that no event will occur that results in a major explosion is not possible, what percent are you able to promise? What is your SLO (service level objective) for safety?
7. What kind of pressure can the pipes withstand before they are compromised and at risk for an explosion or other catastrophe?
8. What kind of emissions will be released from the M&R Station, at what frequency and at what levels? What studies have been done to determine the health risks of such emissions? How will Spectra monitor these levels to ensure the safety of the residents in the area?
9. Where have you successfully built and maintained a pipeline of similar length and pressure in a similar environment (M&R Station so close or closer to an active quarry that is also in such a densely settled neighborhood)? Where else is there an active quarry in the middle of a major city that also has one of your 750psi pipelines running through it?
10. If my neighbors and I lose our homes and/or our loved ones due to an explosion or any other issue anywhere along the pipeline or at the M&R Station, what kind of compensation will we receive? What does your insurance policy for this pipeline and M&R Station look like?
11. What materials will be used for the M&R Station? Are they explosion-proof?
12. Where will the shut-off valves for the M&R Station be located?
13. On page 5-14 of the DEIS the mention of a “slight increase in risk to the nearby public” of the new pipeline is stated. What are these “slight” risks?
14. Is it possible to relocate the M&R Station to a place that is not in proximity to the quarry?
15. Spectra has indicated (via Ray Porfilio at Community Meeting) that there will be jersey or other protective barriers around the M&R Station. Does Spectra have evidence to provide that shows that these barriers can and will stop large trucks barreling down that road?
16. Describe what occurs when a 750psi pipe has an explosion.
17. What happens to these new gas lines in 20 to 30 years when the pipes are no longer needed/being used?
18. Has Spectra done an impact study due to the increased truck traffic (from 150 now to 300 proposed, one truck every 7.5 minutes)?
19. Explain why this route for the West Roxbury Lateral is the best route available for this incoming pipeline.
20. An elementary school is located less than a mile away from the proposed high-pressure pipeline. Explain what precautions will be taken to protect these children in the event of a leak or explosion at the pipeline.
21. Has there been a cost-benefit analysis done on the supply of gas through a new line vs. fixing the current leaks in the system?
22. Are there provisions in place contractually when/if an explosion occurs on the West Roxbury Lateral?
23. Why did Spectra not consider alternative locations for this 5-mile spur that did not include a densely populated residential area and an active quarry across from the M&R Station?
24. One speaker stated that his home will be just a few hundred feet from the proposed M&R Station. Please ask the CEO of Spectra if he would want his children living in that same proximity to the M&R Station.
25. In light of all the leaks in the existing gas pipes, can the added pressure from the high-pressure line be handled safely?
26. Is this gas going into a liquefied station? Can Spectra promise us it will not be LNG?
27. Is the sole purpose of the West Roxbury Lateral at full capacity to deliver 30,000 decatherms to National Grid or is Spectra anticipating other uses?
28. Is there any reason Spectra could not bring the extra gas in through a lower pressure line?
29. How many communities will be served by the 750psi line coming into West Roxbury?
Spectra’s responses, received 11-13-14: 11-13-14 – AGT Responses – West Roxbury Saves Energy QA – 10-8-14 Mtg