REHOBOTH — Opponents of the proposed gas compressor station expressed pleasure at the news that the project has been halted.
Chris Gauthier, a spokesman for Citizens Against the Rehoboth Compressor Station (CARCS), said he was “very happy” to learn of the decision. but warns residents that the project is not dead.
Pipeline operator Enbridge Inc., a partner in the Access Northeast project along with Eversource and National Grid, informed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of their decision to withdraw the project application Thursday.
The 125-mile project would have replaced natural gas pipes with larger ones in Massachusetts and Connecticut, as well as building a compressor station in Rehoboth, a proposal that was widely criticized by local residents.
Funding for the project has been in question since the state’s Supreme Judicial Court rejected a plan to have electricity ratepayers bear the cost through a surcharge.
Selectmen chairman Skip Vadnais said he was “very pleased” with Enbridge’s decision to withdraw.
“There was really no benefit to the citizens of (Rehoboth),” said Vadnais. “A lot of risk with little reward.”
Gauthier believes the fight will now be against state officials who, he says, supported the pipeline project.
“It will buy us some time,” Gauthier said, noting Enbridge would have to start the entire process all over if they wanted to do another pipeline project.
Gauthier remains critical of Gov. Charlie Baker, who Gauthier notes was “behind (the natural gas project) from day one.”
“(Baker) refused to listen to what (compressor station opponents) had to say,” Gauthier explained.
Last April, selectmen approved a resolution in opposition to the compressor station.
In the resolution, selectmen cited concerns for the health and safety of town residents if the station was allowed to operate.
Copies of the resolution were sent to Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, Massachusetts state and federal representatives and senators, Spectra Energy, and FERC.
Nearly 90 percent of residents voted in opposition to the project in the April 3 town election. Vadnais believed that may have been a factor in Enbridge’s decision.
“I think the opposition was growing and growing,” Vadnais noted.
Gauthier wants Enbridge to know if they do decide to return with another pipeline project, the residents will be prepared.
“We’re going to be ready to fight,” Gauthier added.