Massachusetts Transmission Siting (8-MA-a)
A facility is, in part:
- A generating facility;
- A new electric transmission line having a design rating of 69 kV or more and which is one mile or more in length on a new transmission corridor;
- A new electric transmission line having a design rating of 115 kV or ore which is ten (10) miles or more in length on an existing transmission corridor except re-conductoring or rebuilding of transmission lines at the same voltage; and
- An ancillary structure which is an integral part of the operation of any transmission line which is a facility.
Transmission Siting Process
8-MA-a.1 – Petition to Construct a Facility
A developer must submit a Petition to Construct a Facility to the Siting Board (Petition). The developer should submit the Petition in the manner prescribed pursuant to 980 C.M.R. § 1.
The Petition must include, at minimum, the following:
- A description of the facility, site, and surrounding areas;
- An analysis of the need for the facility, either within or outside, or both within and outside the commonwealth;
- A description of the alternatives to the facility, such as other methods of transmitting or storing energy, other site locations, other sources of electrical power or gas, or a reduction of requirements through load management; and
- A description of the environmental impacts of the facility.
8-MA-a.2 to 8-MA-a.3 – Review Petition to Construct Materials for Completeness
The Siting Board must review the Petition for administrative and technical completeness. The Siting Board may request any additional information required to make an approval decision on the Petition.
8-MA-a.4 to 8-MA-a.7 – Publish Notice of Public Comment Hearing and Adjudicatory Proceeding
The developer must publish notice of the public comment hearing(s) and adjudicatory hearing. 980 C.M.R. § 1.04(3)(a); The Energy Facilities Siting Handbook at 4. The notice must include, at minimum, the following:
- The name and address of the applicant (developer);
- The address of the Siting Board;
- A statement that any person desiring further information or wishing to participate in the proceeding may contact the Siting Board;
- The date, time, address of any schedule public comment hearings; and
- A deadline of no less than 14 days for the filing of petitions to intervene as a party or participate as a limited participant in the proceeding.
The developer must:
- Provide notice by publication in at least two (2) newspapers available in the vicinity of the proposed facility;
- Mail notice to all property owners within a certain distance of the boundaries fo the proposed and alternate sites, if any, for the facility; and
- Post notice in the city or town halls of communities in which the proposed project will be located.
The Siting Board also customarily sends notice of the applicant’s (developer) Petition to local and state officials who represent the municipality or municipalities where the facility is proposed. The Energy Facilities Siting Handbook at 4.
The Siting Board must hold a public hearing on the Petition within six (6) months of the initial filing. The Siting Board must conduct a public hearing as a adjudicatory proceeding pursuant to Massachusetts – MASS. GEN. LAWS ch. 30A et seq., State Administrative Procedure and 980 C.M.R. § 1 . M.G.L. 164 § 69J; The Energy Facilities Siting Handbook at 5.
Any person who desires to intervene as a party or a limited participant in any proceeding must file a written Petition to Intervene as a party or limited participant pursuant to 980 C.M.R. § 1.05 and M.G.L. 30A § 10.
In addition, the Siting Board must hold a public comment hearing in each locality in which a facility would be located. M.G.L. 164 § 69J. During the public hearing(s) any interested party may comment on the Petition. The Siting Board must hold a public comment hearing as soon as practicable after the commencement of the adjudicatory proceeding. 980 C.M.R. § 1.04(5); The Energy Facilities Siting Handbook at 5.
8-MA-a.8 to 8-MA-a.9 – Review Petition for Tentative Decision
After the adjudicative hearing, the Siting Board assesses the Petition for approval and then issues a Tentative Decision on the matter. A Tentative Decision may approve the proposed project, approve the proposed project subject to conditions, or deny the proposed project. The Energy Facilities Siting Handbook at 9.
8-MA-a.10 to 8-MA-a.11 – Publish Notice of Public Comment
Immediately after issuing a Tentative Decision, the Siting Board must hold a public comment period for at least seven (7) days. During the public comment period the developer, interveners, and limited participants may submit written comments on the Tentative Decision to the Siting Board. The Energy Facilities Siting Handbook at 9-10.
8-MA-a.12 to 8-MA-a.16 – Review Petition for Final Approval
After consideration of the public comments, the Siting Board assesses the Petition materials for a final decision on the Petition. The Siting Board must, within 12 months, approve the Petition if it determines that the facility meets the following requirements:
- All information relating to current activities, environmental impacts, facilities agreements, and energy policies as adopted by the Massachusetts is substantially accurate and complete;
- Projections of the demand for electric power and of the capacities for existing and proposed facilities are based on substantially accurate historical information and reasonable statistical projection methods and include an adequate consideration of conservation and load management;
- Projections relating to service area, facility use and pooling or sharing arrangements are consistent with such forecasts of other companies subject to this chapter as may have already been approved and reasonable projections of activities of other companies in the New England area;
- Plans for expansion and construction of the applicant's (developer) new facilities are consistent with current health, environmental protection, and resource use and development policies as adopted by Massachusetts and are consistent with the policies stated in M.G.L. 164 § 69H to provide a necessary energy supply for the commonwealth with a minimum impact on the environment at lowest possible cost; and
- That plans including buffer zones or alternatives thereto for the developer's new facility are consistent with current health, environmental protection, and resource use and development policies as adopted by Massachusetts.
If the Siting Board determines that the proposed project does not meet the standards set forth above, the Siting Board within 12 months of the date of filing may reject the Petition in whole or in part. The Siting Board must provide notice to the developer of its decision providing reasons for the rejections or approval of the Petition, subject to stated conditions. M.G.L. 164 § 69J.
In the event of rejection or conditioned approval, the applicant (developer) may within six (6) months submit an amended Petition. M.G.L. 164 § 69J.
8-MA-a.17 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)
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