As eversource plows ahead with plan to build a dangerous electrical substation in East Boston, CLF and GreenRoots continue with fight to stop it.
Supreme Judicial Court of a recent state decision that would allow a proposed electrical substation in East Boston to bypass an important permitting process. After hours of community testimony in opposition, the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board decided to fast-track the project in a vote on November 29.
“How many times does the community have to say no to this facility while decision-makers fail to listen?” said Staci Rubin, Vice President of Environmental Justice at CLF. “At every turn, the state has ignored laws governing community input and alternative location of these types of facilities. East Boston does not need yet another environmental burden, and we will continue challenging this substation until the end.”
“The fact is that the community overwhelmingly opposes the construction of this substation, and state laws regarding the siting of this facility have been ignored,” said Staci Rubin, Vice President of Environmental Justice at CLF. “The Siting Board’s decision contributes to the inequitable distribution of environmental burdens and benefits and disregards East Boston residents’ voices. We’ll continue to partner with the community to challenge this facility.”
“Allowing this substation to be built ignores community voices and established law in Massachusetts,” said Staci Rubin, Vice President, Environmental Justice, CLF. “If the loud community opposition wasn’t enough to sink this project, the proposed site should be reserved for uses that must be on the water, not energy infrastructure that can be located elsewhere. It’s time for state officials to evaluate this project on its merits instead of rubber stamping Eversource’s requests.”
Neighbors of Eagle Hill in East Boston are opposing the construction of a new Eversource electrical substation. But the lack of accessibility for non-English speakers silenced many community members, shutting them out of a process that directly affects their lives and neighborhoods.
“Approving the construction of this substation is a slap in the face to the East Boston community,” said CLF staff attorney Erica Kyzmir-McKeon. “State officials did everything they could to silence community input on this project, calling necessary translation services ‘disruptive.’ This project will impact the neighborhood for decades to come and it never should have been approved.”
“For years, state energy officials have unlawfully shut out Spanish-speaking East Boston and Chelsea residents from decisions that will impact their communities for generations,” said Amy Laura Cahn, Interim Director of the Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program at CLF. “We rely on the EPA to enforce civil rights laws, which guarantee residents a say in what happens in their communities. Without action by the agency, the community has no chance to right this egregious wrong.”
“Three years ago this month, state energy officials totally disregarded—as ‘disruptive’—the attempts of Spanish-speaking residents to participate in a critical decision that will affect their community for decades,” said Amy Laura Cahn, Senior Attorney and Interim Director for Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice at Conservation Law Foundation, “Since that time, the EFSB has consistently failed to live up to its language access obligations under federal law. In yet another insult to this community, residents with limited access to technology will be further marginalized by a remote hearing.”
East Boston residents overwhelmingly oppose a proposal to build a massive electrical substation in their neighborhood. In a case highlighting issues of language justice, many residents have been unable to participate fully in public proceedings because of inadequate translation services. CLF and our partners have filed a formal complaint to hold officials accountable.
“Preventing residents from commenting on a project that will have enormous impacts on their community is not only shameful but a form of discrimination,” said Amy Laura Cahn, Director of CLF’s Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program. “East Boston and Chelsea already experience some of the worst air quality and pollution in the state and adding yet another industrial facility will only compound these injustices. State leaders need to be held accountable for silencing community concerns to push this project through.”