Community efforts to block the construction of an Eversource substation on Condor Street are still active. However, the recent decision by the state’s Energy Facilities Siting Board to approve the project in the spring has required Eagle Hill residents to shift their focus to environmental justice and impact mitigation.
The Eagle Hill Civic Association (EHCA) and the Salesian Boys and Girls Club have been asked to be counterparties in representing the community in negotiating a comprehensive Community Benefits Agreement with Eversource.
With an agreement needed to be reached by July 30, EHCA President Debra Cave said her group has put together a survey and wants Eagle Hill residents to weigh in on what type of mitigation the neighborhood should get if the substation is built.
The survey for Eagle Hill residents can be found at https://eaglehillcivic.surveysparrow.com/s/Eversource-Eagle-Hill-Community-Benefits-Agreement/tt-2a35ae/.
“We put together the survey that can be found on our website (above web address) and we’re also going to have hardcopies of the survey delivered to the East Boston Library on Bremen Street, the East Boston Social Centers and the East Boston YMCA for those who are not tech savvy,” said Cave. “I asked Eversource to make sure that they gave scanned envelopes, so that people can simply get a survey at those locations, drop it in an envelope and drop it in the mail.”
Cave said she really hopes that Eagle Hill residents will think through what they feel are the needs for our community.
“How can we mitigate the impacts of this if it shouldn’t happen,” said Cave. “I think we have to be prepared for this to happen. This substation is in our backyard and we have to make sure that the people of Eagle Hill have representation and a voice on this matter and we get some compensation for this decision. So, please fill out the surveys, and give us as much feedback as you can.”
“In recognition of the environmental justice populations residing in the East Boston community, and the unique legacy of significant environmental impacts associated with existing major infrastructure in this community, the Siting Board directs Eversource to enter into good-faith negotiations for a Community Benefits Agreement,” the Energy Facilities Siting Board said in a statement. “The Agreement shall aim to include measures to further mitigate impacts and further increase environmental and energy benefits, as defined in the Commonwealth’s Environmental Justice Policy. As part of the agreement Eversource shall ameliorate negative impacts that are reasonably likely to occur as a result of the construction of the substation. Any expenditures or actions taken under an agreement negotiated pursuant to this condition must directly benefit the community of East Boston.”
Cave said EHCA’s primary focus during these negotiations is to arrive at an agreement to “further mitigate impacts and further increase environmental and energy benefits” as well as “ameliorate negative impacts that are reasonably likely to occur as a result of the construction of the substation.”