BOSTON - State Representative Michael S. Day (D-Stoneham/Winchester) recently testified before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy in support of his bill H.2833, An Act relative to the Energy Facilities Siting Board. The bill would increase protections for communities faced with large power projects by clarifying the Energy Facilities Siting Board's (EFSB) charge to make explicit that it must consider the proposal's impact on the public health and the proposed abutters of the project in addition to the bottom-line price tag of the proposed project.
"With the ever-climbing demand and price of energy in our region, I appreciate the need for a stable and reliable energy grid at a low price point," said Rep. Day. "However, the cities and towns that find themselves in the path of new transmission and pipeline proposals should not have to bear the overwhelming brunt of the burdens imposed by these infrastructure projects in the name of regional benefits without due consideration of their legitimate environmental and safety concerns. Eversource's power line project, which cuts through the heart of both the towns of Winchester and Stoneham and impacts many neighborhoods and residents, is a perfect example of why this legislation is so necessary."
The EFSB is a nine-member review board located within the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), although the DPU does not supervise or otherwise control the Board. State law charged the EFSB with ensuring, "a reliable energy supply for the Commonwealth with a minimum impact on the environment at the lowest possible cost." The EFSB describes its own primary function as licensing, "the construction of major energy infrastructure in Massachusetts, including large power plants, electric transmission lines, natural gas pipelines and natural gas storage facilities."
The legislation now awaits a vote by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. The full text of H.2833 can be read at the following link: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H2833.