Description: Challenge to the approval of a petition to move a proposed electric substation's boundaries from a previously approved location.
GreenRoots, Inc. v. Energy Facilities Siting Board
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 11/04/2022 Opinion Download Decision of the board affirmed. Massachusetts High Court Rejected Contention that Board Should Not Have Approved Substation Location Due to Sea Level Rise Risk. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld the Energy Facilities Siting Board’s approval of a petition to move a proposed electric substation’s boundaries 190 feet from a previously approved location. The party challenging the approval argued, among other things, that the new location put the substation at risk from sea level rise due to climate change and that the Board should have used a planning horizon based on the 60-year average age of substations currently in use. The court, however, found no error in the Board’s adoption of a 40-year planning horizon based on the design life of the substation. The court said the planning horizon was reasonable, “given the uncertainties in long-term predictions of sea level rise and electricity demand.” The court further concluded that the 40-year planning approach, combined with ongoing reporting requirements, was “a reasonable approach to handling the uncertainty of climate change.” The court noted that “[o]ther courts have approved similar schemes with regard to sea level rise,” citing a 2015 federal court decision that found that consideration of short-term climate impacts over the 10-year term of certain fisheries was appropriate and approved the agency determination that long-term effects were “too indeterminate to yield clearly articulable conclusions.”