CLF Joins City of Lawrence in Fight to Restore Historic Lawrence Canals

Years of neglect have turned site into urban blight

June 7, 2017 (LAWRENCE, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), together with the City of Lawrence, two community-based groups, and local property owners, filed a complaint today with the Federal Energy Resources Commission (FERC) against Essex Company, LLC, for its violation of the conditions of its license to operate its hydroelectric facility, including the North and South Canals, in Lawrence, MA. These canals, respectively listed on and eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, have been littered with trash, punctured by overgrown trees and vegetation, and subjected to serious damage and leakage.

“The Lawrence canals are a core element of the city’s urban landscape, and the people of Lawrence deserve better than to see them neglected and allowed to decay,” said Rafael Mares, Director of CLF’s Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice Program. “When you walk around the streets of Lawrence, you see a thriving community held back by this major blight in the heart of their city. Essex Company, LLC needs to take immediate action to restore the vibrancy and integrity of these canals, and if they refuse, we’ll be standing with the community, ready for the fight.”

The complaint contends that Essex Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Enel Green Power North America, is acting in direct violation of its FERC license, which requires constant maintenance and upkeep of the canals. CLF has been working alongside the City of Lawrence, Groundwork Lawrence, and Lawrence CommunityWorks in helping to restore this treasured resource.

“When our city’s canals have become an eyesore, a barrier to economic growth and development, something has to change,” said Mayor Dan Rivera. “We’re proud to be partnering with CLF in holding Enel accountable for its neglect of our canals and our community, and ensuring they meet their responsibility under the public license.”

A copy of the complaint filed today with FERC is available here.

CLF experts are available for further comment.


Media Contact:

Josh Block, CLF

Kate Reilly
City of Lawrence




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