- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Eversource Energy Company Penalized $117,911 for Environmental Violations in Northfield, Rowe and Ashfield
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has issued a $117,911 penalty to Eversource Energy (NSTAR Electric Company) for environmental violations connected to work on Eversource’s electrical distribution system in the towns of Northfield, Rowe and Ashfield.
MassDEP asserted that the work conducted by Eversource required permits because it did not meet the requirements for exempt maintenance work under the Wetlands Protection Act and/or it occurred in Waters of the United States without a permit.
Eversource must pay $29,478 of the assessed penalty, and the company must conduct a Supplemental Environmental Project with a value of at least $88,433.
The consent order requires that Eversource restore or mitigate for all of the impacts that resulted from the unpermitted alterations. In addition, a Supplemental Environmental Project requires that Eversource conduct additional resource improvement projects in resource areas located in the Connecticut River and/or Hoosic River/Kinderhook Creek watersheds with a qualitative value of at least twice that of the direct restoration it is required to conduct.
Eversource is also required to review all other projects conducted in western Massachusetts since January 1, 2015 to determine whether work that required permits occurred, to identify such projects and unpermitted impacts and to propose a restoration or mitigation plan for those impacts.
“Although the Wetlands Protection Act allows utilities to conduct maintenance projects without permits, activities that go beyond this specific exemption may be harmful to the environment. It is imperative that we review and condition proposed work through the established permitting process,” said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP’s Western Regional Office in Springfield. “This settlement, in addition to penalizing Eversource for the violations, directs a significant portion of that penalty to restoration activities in the region where the violations occurred.”