Environmental justice at the Supreme Judicial Court!

February 28, 2014

Exciting news: We are taking environmental justice to the Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday!

Brockton and West Bridgewater residents, along with volunteer attorneys, prep for the SJC

As part of a more than seven year campaign, residents of Brockton and West Bridgewater, represented pro bono by ACE attorneys, and attorneys from Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C., are appealing a decision approving a fossil fuel power plant from the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) to Massachusetts' highest court.

Residents argued that under state law, the EFSB must apply the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Policy to its review of the siting of the proposed power plant in Brockton. This was the first power plant proposed in a low-income community of color that was subject to the EJ Policy.The EFSB did not adequately apply the EJ Policy in its review of the proposed dirty power plant.

This will be the first time the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) considers the impact of Massachusetts' EJ Policy, making this a case of first impression. This means the SJC decision will impact all future cases involving the EJ Policy.

Please join us to watch the court arguments!

EJ in Court - Viewing Party

Brockton and West Bridgewater residents prep for the SJC

Join ACE members and supporters to see the first Massachusetts case on environmental justice argued before the Supreme Judicial Court. ACE has supported Brockton and West Bridgewater residents in the more than seven year fight against Brockton Power, a proposed fossil fuel power plant.

Come to the courthouse or drop in at ACE for our Viewing Party (breakfast treats provided). See our Viewers Guide [PDF].

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
8:45-10:00 a.m. at ACE

See our EJ in Court- Viewers Guide!

You are also welcome to join us in court! We will meet at the Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, Second Floor, One Pemberton Square in Boston, by Government Center. Please arrive by 8:30 a.m. to allow time to pass through court security procedures.

The following are not allowed in court: food and beverages, cameras, video or other recordings. Additionally, phones, pagers and other electronic devices must be turned off. Live stream available at: www2.suffolk.edu/sjc/

Below are the issues that residents and ACE are raising to the Supreme Judicial Court:

Why didn't the EFSB adequately apply the state Environmental Justice Policy in its review of the siting of a power plant? The EFSB is statutorily required to have and apply an environmental justice strategy, and its failure to adopt or apply an EJ strategy in this case requires the court to cancel the power plant approval and return the case to the EFSB.

Why wasn't the power plant's modeling of its air emissions accurate and complete? The EFSB allowed the power plant to use wind data collected from a coastal location more than 20 miles away from the power plant site to model emissions dispersion for an inland site. Federal regulations require the data to be collected on the site or representative of conditions at the site. Without site-specific or representative data, the dispersion modeling is flawed and cannot be used to determine whether air pollution limits were met. Thus, the EFSB decision should be canceled and returned to the EFSB for reconsideration.

Why did the EFSB decision fail to discuss and weigh expert evidence? The decision ignored evidence of air pollution impacts and failed to evaluate our expert witness' testimony that health impacts occur at levels below the Clean Air Act standards.