Massachusetts regulators have issued a critical air quality permit for Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC’s Atlantic Bridge project, removing a longtime roadblock for the project designed to add natural gas pipeline capacity from Appalachia to New England and Eastern Canada.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Friday issued the permit for a 7,700 hp compressor station at Weymouth. The $452 million project by Algonquin, an affiliate of Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., has been built in phases in New York and Connecticut, but progress stalled last March in Massachusetts over DEP’s air quality concerns.

Recently issued health impacts assessment also concluded “that the compressor station will have no adverse health or environmental impacts on the surrounding communities,” Enbridge spokeswoman Marylee Hanley told NGI. “We are reviewing the conditions of the air plan approval and will be in a better position to offer specific comments once our review is complete.”

Atlantic Bridge is a 132,700 Dth/d expansion of the Algonquin and Maritimes & Northeast pipeline systems in New England, designed to flow south-to-north into Canada. The project was originally scheduled to enter service in November 2017, but Algonquin now expects to begin service in the first half of 2020, according to its website. Algonquin last February filed in federal court to accelerate the permitting process in Massachusetts.

FERC granted Algonquin authorization to build and operate Atlantic Bridge in January 2017. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission later reaffirmed its decision in an order and turned down requests for a rehearing by environmental groups opposed to the project [CP16-9].