Compressor station foe takes fight to Baker for 200th time
By Anastasia E. Lennon
BOSTON UNIVERSITY STATE HOUSE PROGRAM
BOSTON – Andrea Honore on Wednesday walked into Gov. Charlie Baker’s executive office for the 200th time in less than three years.
Unlike most days, Honore wasn’t alone. Flanked by other activists, the Weymouth woman sat beneath a portrait of former Gov. Paul Cellucci and calmly laid out her demands for Baker regarding a natural gas compressor station proposed for a site on Weymouth’s Fore River.
Baker did not come out to greet her.
Honore’s first 82 visits to the governor’s suite took place from February through July 2017, while the rest came starting this past January, when an air-quality permit for the contested site was announced. The State House is just a 15-minute walk from her job, which allows her to visit frequently.
“What would you do to save your home, Governor Baker? How hard would you fight?” Honore said in her opening statement. “Those of us who live in the Fore River Basin area and beyond are doing everything we can to save our home and health.”
She went on to demand that Baker immediately direct the state’s agencies to deny the remaining permits, citing state law, halt the current alteration of the site at 50 Bridge St., and find more independent sources to conduct the safety and impact studies. Honore also asked that Baker order the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Public Health to retract their previous healthimpact assessment for the project and perform a new, peer-reviewed one.
Alice Arena, executive director of Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station, joined Honore in the governor’s lobby Wednesday and decried Baker’s swift actions against vaping products, the sale of which he banned on Tuesday, amid mounting health concerns.
“It is so hypocritical that it’s hard to be believed,” said Arena. “Vaping, like drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, is a choice. In the Fore River Basin, we are not choosing to inhale the toxins that will be emitted by this compressor station.”
During her afternoon sit-in, Honore also shared the first interaction she had with Baker last Thursday in an elevator. In a rare moment, Baker exited his office while Honore was there and she decided to follow.
His guards initially blocked her from coming into the elevator, but Honore says Baker said to “let her in.”
It was then that Honore says she put her hand lightly on Baker’s arm to establish some connection after months of avoidance, and asked, “Sir, what’s it going to take?”
Honore says Baker looked up from his phone, met her eye-to-eye, and said, “You have been so brutal to me. I have nothing to say to you.”
Baker’s office did not respond to questions about Honore’s account of the encounter.
Honore said that what Baker said did not upset her, nor was it threatening. She also wanted to thank Baker’s office for how nice they have been to her over these past two years.
Honore said she hadn’t expected to visit the executive office 200 times, and, in fact, hoped she would not. But she plans to continue her lunchtime visits until Baker takes action.
“I don’t sit here for me, I sit here for all the people who can’t get here but would like to get here, who would like to make their discomfort known,” she said.
“I sit here for all the people who can’t get here but would like to get here, who would like to make their discomfort known.”