In their letter, the lawmakers raise concerns over scheduling meeting during pandemic, language and technology accessibility for impacted community
State has designated almost every part of East Boston as an Environmental Justice population
Boston (December 7, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today led members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, state legislature, and Boston City Council in urging the Massachusetts State Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) to postpone the public meeting about the proposed Eversource electrical substation in East Boston – one of the most racially and ethnically diverse communities in Massachusetts – until the pandemic is over and to re-open the determination of need for the project. In their letter, the Massachusetts lawmakers highlight that the proposed site of the new substation, on the banks of Chelsea Creek, is already an area of industry overuse. They also note that with more than 14 percent of East Boston’s tested
residents testing positive for the virus, it is unfair to ask them to engage on a highly technical project when the area is suffering from one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the state. Additionally, in response to community and advocate concerns about the EFSB’s inadequate language access, the lawmakers urge the EFSB to address and resolve any open complaints regarding translation services before public hearings are held.
Also signing the letter are: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); U.S. Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Katherine Clark (MA-05), and Joseph P. Kennedy III (MA-04); Massachusetts State Senators Joseph A. Boncore (1st Suffolk and Middlesex), Sal N. DiDomenico (Middlesex and Suffolk), and Jamie Eldridge (Middlesex and Worcester); Massachusetts State Representatives Adrian C. Madaro (1st Suffolk), Daniel J. Ryan (2nd Suffolk), Liz Miranda (5th Suffolk), and Michelle DuBois (10th Plymouth); and Boston City Councilors Lydia Edwards (District 1), Julia Mejia (At-Large), Michelle Wu (At-Large), and Annissa Essaibi-George (At-Large).
“If approved, the Eversource electrical substation would have decades-long effects on an extremely vulnerable and disproportionately impacted population,” write the lawmakers in their letter to EFSB Chairman Kathleen Theoharides. “Residents in and around this congested area must be given the opportunity for meaningful involvement, which the currently scheduled meetings do not provide. For far too long, black, brown, and immigrant communities have been excluded from the decision-making processes that directly affect their quality of life. We must address the inequities that intersect race, class, and public health, and that begins with ensuring that the residents of East Boston have a full say in the evolution of their neighborhood.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE