Eversource’s contractor, VHB, is currently working along the MBTA right-of-way (ie the route of the proposed Sudbury to Hudson transmission lines), surveying vernal pools, marking wetlands delineation, and forest-cover mapping. Which makes a lot of us wonder, are these transmission lines a done deal or not?
NO – The Eversource project is not a done deal, and don’t let Eversource fool you into thinking it is!
Eversource has delayed its filing with the Energy Facilities Siting Board until September, because of the efforts of Protect Sudbury and its supporters. Every day, new members come to Protect Sudbury to understand what more we can do to stop the project before it ever gets off the ground. So for those of you just joining us, here’s a recap, based on the questions we’ve been hearing out and about town and through social media.
HOW CAN EVERSOURCE DO THIS? This is the first question most people ask. How can Eversource even propose a project that rides roughshod over state and local wetlands protections and conservation regulations? The short answer is there are exceptions to nearly all laws and regulations, usually due to competing public and private property interests, which is often the case with utilities projects. Protect Sudbury disagrees about the balance of public and private interest and believes quality of life, health, and environmental concerns have not been sufficiently been considered, which is why we are fighting Eversource. In terms of how to wage the battle, Protect Sudbury’s dual pronged effort of engaging the citizenry as well as a legal fight is supported by research that shows that the probability of success against a utility siting project (ie putting in transmission lines) triples when legal action is coupled with an aggressive political strategy.
HOW TO GET THE INSIDE SCOOP: The best way to find out the nitty gritty is to attend a neighborhood meeting or even host one for your friends and neighbors. A real, live Board member will be there to answer all your questions. Of course you can look at our website, check out the Facebook page, and follow the Twitter feed, but even in these heady days of social media, there’s nothing like the personal touch. The chance to ask questions and to share ideas is invaluable. You can connect with your neighbors and feel the energy in the room that comes from so much dedication and talent working to make sure that this project never, ever gets off the ground to ruin our community.
WHERE DO THE NUMBERS COME FROM? Understandably, people want to know where the numbers in the blog and on the website come from, especially the real estate numbers. All our research is reviewed by the head of our research team, who has experience in financial & economic consulting in the energy sector, asset valuation & modeling, regulatory policy & compliance, utility ratemaking, due diligence & litigation support, and analysis. We also footnote everything, so you can find those numbers here.
WHO IS OUR ATTORNEY AND WHY DID WE HIRE HIM? His name is Richard Kanoff and he’s got the track record to show that he’s very very good at what he does. He’s a former Assistant Mass. Attorney General in the utilities division and chairs the Energy and Clean Technology Group for his law firm, Burns and Levinson. His practice focuses on, among other things, regulatory policy and litigation including permitting, siting, and regulatory compliance, all things essential to understand at the deepest level in fighting the Eversource proposal. Legal strategy is a tricky thing to discuss publicly for, well, legal reasons (hello again Eversource). Some of our community finds this frustrating – they want to know the strategy – which makes sense, since we’re all in this together. If this is you, come to a neighborhood meeting and ask your questions.
WHERE DOES DONATION MONEY GO? It’s super simple – any money you donate goes to the legal fund, to pay our attorney and professional experts in the areas such as utility engineering and siting and likely environmental experts. A very small amount (2%) goes to overhead costs like insurance, and special projects like our upcoming video project. (stay tuned!) As for the rest of us, our board members, team leaders, the names you see on our website and Facebook, the people you talk to around town, they’re all volunteers doing it because they love Sudbury and know that the only way to stop Eversource is to get involved.
And you can get lots more detail on all aspects of the Protect Sudbury and the Eversource project in previous blog posts: Herbicides; Forests; Wetlands; Facts & Figures; Eversource’s vegetation management plan; Eversource’s corporate citizenship; Turtles; Community; Letter Writing.
Photo credit, Randy Ziffer; Property graphic, Julie Lieberman