Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
Pipeline companies, if they’re paying attention, just got an important lesson in politics with FERC approval of the Weymouth project.
FERC just approved the Weymouth Compressor Station for startup on Thursday, October 1, after years of NIMBY and green virtue signaling elitist opposition from the likes of Massachusetts’ two uppity U.S. Senators, a host of other politicians and media. The appropriately named WickedLocal.com site summed it up thusly:
Federal regulators have given Enbridge the OK to bring the controversial natural gas compressor station online next week, more than five years after the energy company first proposed the project.
Enbridge on Sept. 16 filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a request to place the compressor station in service with the goal of having it operational by Oct. 1. The approval comes as residents and some local, state and federal officials remain steadfast in their opposition to the station.
There is an extremely important lesson here; to win you must fight.
The project was made controversial, of course, by a political campaign in which the media was a willing participant and had not the original developer, Spectra, now Enbridge, had experience fighting through Northeast politics, they would have lost. But, this developer did have experience, knew one never softens its positions, bends to delays or hesitates to advance, if they intend to win in the end. That is how pipeline projects get done in New England, New York or New Jersey. You must fight with everything you have and do so from the beginning. If you’ve done your homework, your project is necessary and the best option available and you are willing to go the ramparts you can beat the wacko opposition. You must understand, though, you’re doing battle not PR.
The was illustrated beautifully in just the last few weeks. Our buddy Jim Willis has relentlessly covered Weymouth and, on September 10th, noted this:
It’s a good thing Enbridge kept building because a panel of judges from the same court (First Circuit Court of Appeals) recently reversed the earlier decision. The judges said they believe an ongoing lawsuit to block the compressor will be won by Enbridge and if they didn’t restore the permit, the compressor would remain offline this winter, potentially harming thousands of natural gas consumers.
The Weymouth opposition no doubt thought they had scored a “game-changer” by getting a sympathetic judge to throw out a Federal permit, but Enbridge kept building while simultaneously taking the bad decision up the ladder in warp speed. Then, after a minor hiccup with testing, they immediately went to FERC and requested startup authority. FERC almost immediately approved. The result is that gas will start flowing through the station and to much needed locations in New England and Canada next week. Persistence, persistence and more persistence gets the job done.
This reminds me of the post I wrote in December explaining the source of the Weymouth opposition, which was a combination of NIMBYs and the usual suspects such as Environment America and various fronts for trial lawyers looking for lawsuit opportunities. I also noted here the Weymouth location was a perfect one, being already industrial in character. The feedback I’ve gotten over the years from the NIMBYs involved in the fight has been to the effect that the battle was far from but now it is over because Enbridge knows how to fight. They never surrendered and now, with FERC allowing startup on Thursday, they’ve won and gas will flow. This ought to be a lesson to every pipeline company; get in the trenches and fight!
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