Environmental Ups and Downs
Recent decisions by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and a Massachusetts trial court represent one loss and one victory for local residents fighting the Fore River Compressor Station, in Weymouth, Massachusetts. (“The Republic for Which It Stands,” Summer 2021). In January, FERC ruled that it had likely erred in permitting the station, a natural gas facility that emits CO2 and toxic pollutants, without adequate consideration of environmental factors. Nevertheless, the commission concluded that it lacked the legal basis for rescinding the permit—a disappointment for the residents and their lawyer, Michael Hayden ’04.
The win came in March, when Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Joseph Leighton ruled that the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had wrongfully issued a permit to the project. According to the judge, the permit application falsely claimed that the project required siting along a waterway. The department, Leighton ruled, interpreted “required” to mean “suitable,” which flew in the face of “the plain terms of the [applicable] regulation.”
Leighton’s ruling sends the matter to DEP for reconsideration. Whether this means the compressor station will have to shut down in the interim was unclear at press time.
Robert Morris Website Wins Award
“His Name Was Robert Morris: And Too Many of Us Have Never Heard of Him” (BC Law Magazine, Winter 2022) told the story of the second Black lawyer in America (a man with ties to Boston College)—and of the dynamic educational website that BC Law faculty and librarians created to celebrate the 19th century activist and legal trailblazer.
The website is called “Robert Morris: Civil Rights Lawyer and Antislavery Activist.” It was recognized in April by the American Association of Law Libraries, which bestowed its 2022 Innovations in Technology Award to the team that created it: BC Law Legal Information Librarian Laurel Davis, Professor Mary Sarah Bilder, Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communication Librarian Nick Szydlowski (now at San Jose State University), and Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communication Librarian Abraham (Avi) Bauer.