An exterior shot of protesters holding up a banner that reads, "No Eastie Substation."
According to Extinction Rebellion, at least eight activists have been arrested at the construction site of the East Boston substation since Eversource began work on January 11.; photo courtesy Extinction Rebellion.

Protests, Construction Continue at East Boston Substation

March 23, 2023

by Kathryn Carley, Commonwealth News Service

Environmental activists are calling on Gov. Maura Healy to end construction of the Eversource electrical substation in East Boston, and move it to Massport – which will utilize most of the generated power.

The activists say the utility is knowingly building the high-voltage project in a flood plain, posing health and safety risks to the surrounding community.

State Sen. Lydia Edwards – D-Boston – said local residents should not pay for energy meant to power Logan Airport.

“This is all about them,” said Edwards. “It has never been about our community. It has never been about what we need or want.”

Edwards said the project runs counter to the Commonwealth’s landmark climate law – which requires environmental justice factors be considered when siting infrastructure projects, and residents say they are already overburdened with industrial pollution.

Eversource says the substation is needed to meet the area’s growing energy demands.

Healy has previously expressed her opposition to the substation and members of her cabinet have committed to reviewing all legal procedures related to its construction.

But activists such as Alex Chambers – an organizer with the climate justice group Extinction Rebellion – said nearly 84% of voters already rejected the project in a 2021 ballot initiative.

“It’s a real insult that the state government has allowed this to go forward,” said Chambers. “We should be creating more green space for people to use, not allocating it to investor-owned utilities like Eversource.”

Chambers said activists will continue to practice civil disobedience at the construction site while appealing to Healy to intervene.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has already publicly opposed the project.

Jason Velázquez

Jason Velázquez has worked in print and digital journalism and publishing for two decades.
Phone: (413) 776-5125

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