Extinction Rebellion_Eversource Action_July 30, 2021 at 530PM.jpg

Climate activists rally to demand that Eversource stop perpetuating environmental injustice

Climate activists rally in East Boston to demand that Eversource stop perpetuating environmental injustice

Eversource is destroying our future for investor profits

BOSTON, MA — Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion Boston, GreenRoots, and Take Back the Grid marched to East Boston Urban Wild, the site of a proposed new electrical substation.

They held a rally to demand that Eversource Corporation stop profiting from fossil fuel projects and other dangerous infrastructure that risks the lives of Massachusetts communities and people around the world.

Eversource, an investor-owned utility that provides New England with fracked methane (“natural gas”) and electricity, has contributed to the climate crisis by building new gas pipelines,(1) fighting electrification initiatives, (2) slapping new surcharges on homeowners who use solar panels, (3) and distributing propaganda comic books to school children that call fracked gas “your invisible friend.” (4) These moves serve to deepen the region’s dependency on fracked methane, and hinder the transition to renewable sources of energy.

“Eversource tells the public ‘Our future is clean energy,' but their actions condemn us to a future of climate and ecological breakdown, all just to maximize their investors’ profits,” said Ben Allen from Extinction Rebellion Boston.

Eversource perpetuates the falsehood that fracked methane is a necessary “bridge fuel” to a renewable future. (5) In reality, for the first 20 years in the atmosphere, methane that is released from burning fracked gas traps eighty times more heat than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, Eversource’s investment in new gas infrastructure suggests they do not intend to transition away from it for decades at least. The International Energy Agency has warned that to limit global heating to 2.7°F in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, we cannot build any more coal, oil, or natural gas infrastructure. (6)

This rally occurred simultaneously with other protests against Eversource in Northampton, MA and Hartford, CT. These protests marked the release day for Eversource’s quarterly financial report, which is expected to show how Eversource continues to profit from fracked methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term. These rallies are endorsed by local chapters of Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement, Mothers Out Front, and Sierra Club, as well as Take Back the Grid, GreenRoots, and the Boston May Day Coalition.

Locally, Eversource is proposing to build a controversial electrical substation next to Chelsea Creek in East Boston, in the working-class neighborhood of Eagle Hill. This location is likely to flood given rising sea levels and increased rainfall due to climate change. A flooded substation could lead to a dangerous explosion. The proposed site is also adjacent to a playground and only a few hundred feet from a storage area for Massport’s jet fuel. A fire would be catastrophic.

Electricity demand in the neighborhood has not been publicly re-evaluated since the project was proposed, calling the need for the substation into question.

“This working-class, largely immigrant neighborhood already suffers from significant air and noise pollution. Converting a public green space into a dangerous industrial site, against the community’s wishes, would constitute yet one more act of environmental injustice,” said John Walkey, Waterfront Initiative Coordinator at GreenRoots.

We delivered these demands to Eversource:

1) Tell The Truth: Stop lying about your nonexistent commitment to climate action while handing out false propaganda to our children.

2) Act Now: End reliance on fossil fuels, including fracked gas. Immediately cease building new fracked gas infrastructure.

3) Listen to communities: Decisions about energy and infrastructure should be made in an inclusive process that prioritizes the needs of affected communities, not the profits of investors.

4) Stop Environmental Injustice: Stop building dangerous new infrastructure like gas pipelines and the East Boston substation that put environmental justice communities at risk.

Extinction Rebellion Boston is an autonomous chapter of the international grassroots movement, Extinction Rebellion (XR), which started in London in 2018. The purpose of XR is to tell the truth about how dire the ecological and climate crisis is and spark immediate action in order to prevent complete climate and ecological collapse. We aim to mobilize people around the world to utilize nonviolent direct action to demand that governments take radical action to avert societal collapse caused by widespread climate and ecological disaster, and to protect front-line communities, biodiversity, and the natural world. This movement is non-political, and unites all of humanity behind a singular goal of a just and livable future. Learn more at: xrmass.org

  1. Milford Daily News, Ashland wins court case against Eversource, 6/23/20

  2. Yale Environment 360, A Leading US Utility Stealthily Fights the Electrification of Heating Systems, 5/4/21

  3. MassLive, Mass DPU OKs new 'demand charge' on residential solar customers in Eversource territory, 1/18/18

  4. WHDH News, ‘Your Invisible Friend’: Parents outraged by pro-gas booklets made by Eversource used in Mass. school,5/10/21

  5. Grist, There’s no roadmap to the other side of the natural gas bridge. These states are making one, 7/15/20

  6. Yale Climate Connections, A bombshell report from closely followed International Energy Agency, 5/1/21

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