Carver MA: Illegal sand mining by AD Makepeace

Group’s lawsuit exposes expired and illegal mining permits issued to Makepeace by Carver

Video summarizing AD Makepeace strip mining and earth removal under the ruse of agriculture and site preparation for industrial solar at 6 sites in Carver, MA

Southeastern Massachusetts is being destroyed by unregulated industrial sand mining

After eight months of investigations and efforts to seek enforcement of the law through letters and meetings, on November 23, 2021, Save the Pine Barrens filed a lawsuit against Carver’s Earth Removal Committee, the Zoning Enforcement Officer, and the Zoning Board of Appeals rover their failure to enforce the law despite clear-cut documentary evidence of violations.

The case targets six strip mining sites – three of which are being done under the claim of “agricultural projects” and three for industrial solar without earth removal permits.

Since April 2021, local grassroots activists and the Stop the Trucks Campaign has been trying to get state and local enforcement to stop these violations. “This environmental destruction and the cover-ups need to stop now,” said coordinator of STPB Meg Sheehan. “Carver is unwilling to enforce their own laws to protect their residents and the environment. Whether it’s corruption, conflict of interest, the “Cranberry Cosa Nostra” or the sand mafia — there’s no excuse for this reckless destruction.”

On Federal Road in Carver, Makepeace has three active strip mine sites being done under the ruse of agriculture: Site 1, 59 Federal Road, Site 2 at 46 Federal Road and the Smith Hammond bog site. Some of these are abutting Environmental Justice communities identified by the state as most heavily impacted by environmental degradation and pollution.

At Makepeace’s 46 Federal Road sand mining site (Site 2 on the map), 27 acres of rare species habitat for the Eastern Box Turtle has been obliterated since 2011 under a so-called Conservation and Management Permit granted by Mass Wildlife for a fake “agricultural project” that Makepeace hasn’t built — over 10 years later. An Indigenous cultural site that was potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places was probably destroyed. Neither MassWildlife nor the Massachusetts Historical Commission will hold Makepeace accountable.

Across the region, Makepeace’s mining operations and solar installations are impacting the ancestral lands of the Wampanoag people. To date, almost a dozen archeological sites have been impacted or destroyed in blatant disregard of the Indigenous people’s physical, cultural, and historic connection to these areas.

Chronology of key events:

September 28, 2021 Independent consultant confirms that AD Makepeace is using “agricultural projects” as a ruse to get state and town approvals. The consultant visited three AD Makepeace mining sites on Federal Road in Carver with the Earth Removal Committee and AD Makepeace’s CEO Jim Kane. The expert’s testimony says there is no evidence of agriculture at the location where AD Makepeace used plans showing agricultural projects to get permits from the Earth Removal Committee. The Committee never enforced the law but granted more permits even though the agricultural projects were never built.

On June 29, 2021 Save the Pine Barrens sent a letter to the Carver Zoning Board of Appeals demanding an immediate cease and desist to all sand mining operations by AD Makepeace. STPB demanded enforcement from the Building Commissioner on June 29, 2021.

STPB’s demand letter describes AD Makepeace’s strip mining of almost 150 acres, much of it rare and endangered species habitat, to install about 15 megawatts of industrial ground-mounted solar and industrial solar panels and battery storage.

On July 28, 2021 Save the Pine Barrens sent a fifth written notice

Recordings of the ERC’s meetings can be found here and here

Impacts of AD Makepeace mining and solar at a few sites Carver

June 15, 2021 A few years ago pristine Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens stood in this very spot. Now the area is a barren wasteland, stripped of forests and life and replaced by industrial solar arrays. A 50 acre area once teeming with biodiversity has been desecrated and strip-mined by Makepeace and Borrego Solar panels installed.

Location: 0 Hammond road (Borrego Solar site) Carver, MA