SVT Continues Opposition to Eversource Project at Memorial Forest

Many species of wildlife find habitat in Memorial Forest. Photo by Dan Foster.
Many species of wildlife find habitat in Memorial Forest. Photo by Dan Foster.

(Update, 7/1/2020: The hearing planned for June 15, 2020, has been continued for a second time until July 8, 2020.)

For the past several years, SVT has opposed the efforts of Eversource to place a 115-kv transmission line along an abandoned MBTA railroad corridor that runs through Sudbury, Marlborough, Stow, and Hudson.

The proposed underground utility line will cut through hundreds of acres of conservation land that was paid for with private, municipal, state, and federal dollars. This includes the Desert Natural Area, which sits at the intersection of Hudson, Marlborough, and Sudbury and incorporates SVT's Memorial Forest.

In 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) announced its support of the Eversource project. DCR also announced that it would like to install a recreational trail atop the proposed utility line.

The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board approved the project in December 2019, and Eversource and DCR have now filed a joint Notice of Intent to construct the transmission line and a paved recreational path along the MBTA right of way, which extends for more than seven miles from Sudbury to Hudson.

The Sudbury Conservation Commission held a public hearing on this Notice of Intent at its April 13, 2020, and compiled 11 pages of questions that are expected to be addressed by Eversource at another public hearing on June 15.

At SVT, we have followed the Eversource proposal closely, and we have determined that the installation and maintenance of the transmission line will severely impact a globally rare natural community, several listed rare species, a rich assemblage of wetland resource areas, and hundreds of acres of conservation lands. We have filed several public letters of opposition as the project has wended its way through regulatory reviews.

On April 16, SVT filed a public letter of opposition to the Notice of Intent. We believe that there are enough significant differences between the utility line and recreational trail projects that their environmental impacts must be assessed independently. We are urging the conservation commissions of all three communities--Sudbury, Hudson, and Marlborough-- to consider the full scope of the environmental impacts along the entire length of the MBTA right of way and to coordinate their reviews of the proposal.

An SVT staff member will attend the Sudbury Conservation Commission public hearing on June 15, and we invite our Sudbury members to attend as well.

You can learn more about the project at: