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.”
“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.”
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