The Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) will come out to the community next month and have a public comment hearing on Eversource proposed electrical substation at 338 East Eagle Street.
The meeting about the proposed substation in East Eagle Square will be on Tuesday, February 5 at 7p.m. at East Boston High School.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss Eversource’s Notice of Project Change that moves the proposed substation from the eastern corner of the City Yards in East Eagle Square to the western corner. The original location on the eastern portion of the city-owned parcel was approved by the EFSB last year.
In its Notice of Project Change Eversource seeks approval to move the Substation 190 feet to the western side of the City Yards lot. The scope of the upcoming meeting is limited to Eversource’s proposed relocation of the substation from its current site on the eastern side of the city parcel to its new proposed location.
Eversource said the two 115-kV transmission lines that would connect to the substation would no longer be routed along Condor and East Eagle Streets if the substation is placed in the western portion of the parcel.
Recently, local environmentalists from Eastie and Chelsea gathered at Boston City Hall to deliver 700 postcards to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh asking for the mayor to meet with residents on both sides of the Chelsea Creek to discuss alternatives to placing Eversource’s proposed substation along the creek.
For two years local environmentalists on the Eastie and Chelsea sides of the Chelsea Creek have launched a visual, media and talking campaign against Eversource’s plans to place the substation at the City Yards in Eagle Square.
Last year the state’s Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) ruled in favor of placing the substation at the City Yards. However, the final ruling came with some provisos. According to the state board the EFSB vote to approve the substations and 115 kV underground cables in Eastie, Chelsea and Everett came with some conditions. The EFSB directed Eversource to enter into discussions with the City of Boston regarding the possible relocation of the new substation and the related cable on the Chelsea Creek site.
Local activist John Walkey argues that the project represents an increased risk in both communities already bearing a huge environmental burden in the region by playing host to Logan International Airport, highways and jet fuel storage tanks along the Chelsea Creek.
Walkey added that Mayor Walsh has been very receptive to the group’s concerns but while they have met with Walsh Administration staffers they have not met directly with the mayor.
“We are here to bring home this idea that we just want to sit down and talk,” said Walkey. “We are not demanding anything ridiculous. We just want to voice our concerns and have the mayor hear them.”
As part of its decision the EFSB directed Eversource to provide an update to the board on the status of discussions between the community and city before construction on the substation commences. This has given additional time for Eversource, the City of Boston, and residents to iron out the alternative locations for the substation.
Walsh has maintained that the city is in the process of working with Eversource to ensure the substation is in the best possible location for the residents and businesses in Eastie and those along the Chelsea Creek.
The substation was initially slated to be built on an Eversource-owned parcel on Bremen Street. However, under the former late Mayor Thomas Menino Boston executed a land swap with Eversource. Eversource have the City of Boston the Bremen Street parcel so the city could build the new East Boston Branch Library in return for a city-owned parcel in East Eagle Square.