MATEP Hearings

The state environmental agency has heard two weeks of testimony by medical experts to determine whether a diesel power plant Harvard is building could cause cancer when operating.

The Medical Area Total Energy Plant (MATEP), a $260 million facility in Boston and the largest of its kind in North America, has been running below capacity for the past three years because of its potential carcinogenic effects.

The hearings will continue on Tuesday and run for the next two weeks. The state's Department of Environmental Quality Engineering (DIQE) will issue the findings, which may not come out until late next year.

Even if the plant wins state approval on the cancer issue. Harvard will have to conduct an extensive number of tests of the massive diesel engines that could mean the plant wouldn't become fully operational until 1985. The project has met considerable opposition from the communities of Brookline and Mission Hill since construction began seven years ago

Thus far seven medical experts have testified on the potential carcinogenic or mutagenic effects of the plant, six called on by Harvard.


Over the next two weeks, six additional testimonies are expected Lawyers for the MATEP opposition will call on four more witnesses and two DEQE officials will take the stand to give an assessment of the result of tests they compacted to determine the potential health hazards to the plant.

The plant was originally designed supply the total energy needs of Harvard's medical area, but the ongoing legal battle has prevented the plant from ever operating at full capacity.