PSR members in Virginia have been fighting a proposed fracked-gas compressor station for years. Now, Greater Boston PSR has raised health concerns about a compressor station proposed for their area.
The chapter’s steering committee has sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, criticizing a Health Impact Assessment that was conducted to identify potential health risks associated with building the compressor station. Greater Boston PSR called the study “rushed” and “inappropriately limited.”
In the letter, Greater Boston PSR cited problems that the Health Impact Assessment failed to take into account, including:
- The air quality assessment evaluated only 24-hour averages of air quality, thus failing to reflect more intensive peaks in emissions.
- The community where the compressor station is proposed to be built is already the site of heavy industrial development. Levels of formaldehyde, chloroform and carbon tetrachloride are already many times above the allowable ambient level. Construction of an additional compressor station raises Environmental Justice concerns.
- Citizen-scientist testing of air quality has shown recurrent elevated levels of benzene, a known carcinogen. The Health Impact Assessment disregarded these data.
Greater Boston PSR’s letter was cited in recent newspaper coverage of a public hearing about the proposed compressor station.
Compressor stations are a cog in the fracked-gas supply chain: They keep the gas pressurized and moving through pipelines from the wellsite to the destination (gas-fired power plant, LNG export facility, etc.). As they do so, they leak methane, volatile organic compounds, and other dangerous gases into the atmosphere.