Council claims city never ‘supported’ plans woburn gas x while pregnant


"You mentioned the City of Woburn was a full intervener for 2.5 years. We know nothing about this, so whoever spoke on our behalf could not have had the authority to do so. There has been no approval from the City Council whatsoever," said the Ward 1 alderman.

Though Campbell asked for the letter to the EFSB to make direct mention of "false" statements regarding the City of Woburn’s support for the Eversource initiative, Alderman at-large Michael Concannon convinced his peers to moderate that language and instead call those reports "inaccurate".

Last month, in a 173-page decision, state regulators from the EFSB approved both the scope of work and the final 8.5-mile route for the 345,000 volt transmission line, which will track from the electrical substation in Woburn by Horn Pond to National Grid’s Wakefield Junction Substation off of Salem Street in Wakefield near the Lynnfield line.

As part of that ruling, the state officials are granting Eversource and its partner National Grid comprehensive relief from local zoning regulations that restrict noise nuisances, limit work performed in groundwater protection overlays, prohibit the construction of structures that exceed 30-feet in height, and local rules governing signage.

This week, Boston-based attorney David Rosenzweig, representing the electricity distributor, further argued the EFSB decision further revokes the City Council’s powers to reject the grant-of-location permits due to health or public safety considerations, including those regarding electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure levels.

Just before the EFSB decision was adopted, Eversource submitted a petition to the City Council seeking grant-of-location permits to begin work in Woburn, which will involve excavating four-foot wide trenches at a depth of five feet to insert the conduit within the following roadways:

During this week’s gathering, Bill Zamparelli, Eversource’s Community Relations Coordinator, challenged the idea that no one in the city had advance notice of the EFSB proceedings, as consultants for the utility provider held public forums at Woburn City Hall while the petition was being prepared more than two years ago.

The representative for the power distributor also referenced a multitude of private meetings he arranged with Mayor Scott Galvin and other City Hall managers. Based on his recollection, he spoke about the project with Galvin on at least four separate occasions.

The EFSB decision, which at-length describes challenges and filing briefs prepared on behalf of community leaders in Winchester, Stoneham, and Wakefield, only briefly mentions Woburn’s stance regarding the 8.5-mile long transmission line plans. Specifically, presiding case officer Robert Shea, in his draft EFSB decision, mentions Galvin as being supportive of the route.

That short paragraph on Woburn’s involvement indicates the City Hall executive, in an apparent acknowledgement of considerable legal advantages granted to petitioners’ before the EFSB, opted to support the Eversource proposal in exchange for the utility company’s agreement to steer the proposed route away from Green Street.

Mercer-Bruen conceded the mayor had every right to meet with Eversource as Woburn’s top executive, but she suggested the utility company, being fully aware it would eventually need grant-of-location permits, miscalculated by failing to also approach the City Council.