The proposal would make an already at risk community environmentally unsafe.
Mayor Kim Janey, together with Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, and GreenRoots advocate Noemy Rodriguez, came together to tell Eversource to justify or cancel its proposed electrical substation in East Boston, on May 4.
“As mayor of Boston, I will not remain silent when the people of East Boston are crying out,” said Janey. “From what I have seen, the substation plan is based on flawed projections and flawed priorities. I urge Eversource to prioritize environmental equity and the wellbeing of East Boston residents over their profits.”
Eversource initially proposed to have an electrical substation in East Boston in 2013, explaining that it was necessary to have the facility to support the capacity of a substation in Chelsea. The company’s initial estimates for projected energy demand have not been met, and its new, adjusted data has yet to be shared publically. Many community members are concerned about public safety and environmental justice.
“Environmental justice says we need to ask hard questions about who is asked to carry the burden and who receives the benefits,” said White-Hammond. “I stand with the Mayor and the residents of East Boston to protect those residents who already experience so many burdens. In addition to questioning whether we really need this facility, we need to understand whether or not this facility is in alignment with very real changes that are happening on our planet. I look forward to continuing to work with the community to ensure environmental justice for all residents of Boston.”
East Boston, a state designated Environmental Justice Community, has a 64 percentage of community members being people color, while 54% are immigrants. According to a press release, “This area faces a variety of environmental hazards, such as noise and air pollution from Logan International Airport, traffic congestion, storage of fuel, manufacturing processes along the Chelsea Creek, as well as storage of road salt and sand along the Chelsea Creek.” Because of the already present environmental hazards, having a substation in this neighborhood would be unsafe.
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.