January 25, 2023 • Press Release

EAST BOSTON–Hot on the heels of recent targeted arrests of #NoEastieSubstation activists, GreenRoots, Extinction Rebellion Boston and dozens of environmental justice allies rallied at the East Boston Eversource substation site Wednesday morning to say “no” to the construction of a dangerous substation in the majority immigrant and working-class community of East Boston. Over the past two weeks, demonstrators have protested at the construction site despite almost nine years of overwhelmingly strong community opposition, numerous appeals and dozens of public hearings. 

“Upgrading the grid for electrification should not come at the expense of East Boston residents’ health and safety,” said John Walkey, GreenRoots Director of Waterfront & Climate Justice Initiatives and East Boston resident. “We are calling on Governor Healey to stop this dangerous infrastructure. We want her to come talk to the folks who live in East Boston. These are the folks who are going to be dealing with the impacts of this substation for a long time. These are the ratepayers who are going to pay for this project for years to come.” 

The ongoing community opposition against the substation and the accompanying Massachusetts coastline flood projections have further illuminated the equitable need for siting reform and for Governor Maura Healey to step in.  

East Boston community leader and Executive Director of the East Boston Community Soup Kitchen Sandra Nijjar shared to the crowd, “While Eversource thinks we may be small, we are united, our voice matters, and we are powerful!” The message was clear from demonstrators: There is still for Governor Healey to halt the construction and to meet with East Boston residents and listen to their concerns and demands. “Over 80% of East Boston residents voted against the substation in the non binding referendum,” said Jule Mantz, activist with Extinction Rebellion Boston and Chelsea resident. “We do not need empty promises. Governor Healey, it is time to act. It is time to bring Massport to the table and uplift environmental justice communities in the process.” GreenRoots has officially requested a meeting with Governor Healey, EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper and Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer to meet with the residents of East Boston.

Demonstrators were also joined in support with staff from the offices of Senator Lydia Edwards, Representative Adrian Madaro and Boston City Councilor Gigi Coletta. 

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GreenRoots is a community-based organization dedicated to improving and enhancing the urban environment and public health in East Boston, Chelsea and surrounding communities. We do so through deep community engagement and empowerment, youth leadership and implementation of innovative projects and campaigns.