Protect Sudbury hosted its inaugural "Ask an Expert" talk last Thursday, March 9th to a full house at the Goodnow Library.
Senator Barrett, Representative Gentile, and Senator Eldridge attended as panelists with Bill Schineller Protect Sudbury Government Lead.
All three legislators have worked with Protect Sudbury for the past year to better understand the process which led to Eversource’s proposal, identify a more appropriate solution, and fix the process going forward for the future of Massachusetts.
Each legislator was candid in their responses and had direct interaction with the citizens they represent, to explain their current position about the Eversource project and what they do on Beacon Hill.
We were heartened to see yet again that each listened their constituents who gathered to advocate for the best possible outcome for our community and all of Massachusetts.
Some takeaways from the evening:
- this is a town-wide issue with real concerns for our water supply, protected open space, property values, impact on town character and school budget
- there is unanimous opposition to the overhead option ($37M) from all three legislators
- Sen. Eldridge and Rep. Gentile oppose underground siting on MBTA RoW in alignment with our community
- Sen. Barrett stated he was “OK” with underground siting on MBTA RoW to loud murmurs of dissent from the crowd assembled
- Sen. Barrett is concerned about an in-street option’s possible effect on 261 additional abutters (virtually all in his district), additional cost.
- interest in $60M National Grid reliability solution that ISO-NE rejected, but which is potentially next lowest cost, and the least environmentally impactful
- non-transmission alternatives and distributed energy resources (storage) deserve serious consideration
- new legislation is not a not a silver bullet, but the longer view could help improve the process
- passing legislation requires a coalition of communities to harness the current concern, state-wide, for better energy infrastructure planning
- Sen. Eldridge: "Sudbury residents and Protect Sudbury need to be part of a statewide coalition to pass legislation"
- path to success includes gaining Governor Baker’s support
In addition to the meeting with legislators, we are organizing a meeting of a state-wide coalition with Sen. Jamie Eldridge, to be held at the State House or a more central location like Worcester to support bills to improve the Energy Facilities Siting Board process. Please stay tuned for dates and times. We would love to have your support.
We have made a direct appeal to the MBTA about better uses of the RoW, not involving Eversource, more consistent with the mission of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Through our conversations with DCR, we've established that DCR already leases a portion of the corridor and has a vision of a recreational trail unspoiled by development. Inquiries to MBTA Realty, their Fiscal Control and Management Board, and their acting General Manager have gone unanswered thus far, but we persist.
We attended the ISO - NE Consumer Liaison Group to begin a dialogue with ISO-NE and continue to research the process by which Eversource’s $41M overhead transmission line proposal was chosen over $60M National Grid proposal to upgrade existing infrastructure.
We continue our meetings with local and state legislators to educate and update them on all the issues and to continue to ask for they help in our fight.