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Sand mining destroying Southeastern Massachusetts

Valuable sand and gravel deposits are being extracted with no state or federal oversight and with no environmental impact reports under state or federal law. Sand mining is a global environmental issue that is a death sentence for ecosystems and communities.

Local boards approve many projects under the ruse of “cranberry bog agriculture” with no accountability for the environmental damage. Other projects are approved under the false claim of “site preparation” for solar projects, industrial development or “subdivision plans.” Strip mining for sand and gravel involves deforestation, ecosystem destruction, and damage to Indigenous sites. Sand mining undermines the ability of Southeastern Massachusetts to mitigate the impacts of climate change by stripping away forests and soils that sequester carbon. Strip mining removes the forest, vegetation and sand that filters our water supply. We rely on the Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer, a shallow aquifer that supplies drinking water for seven towns. Stripping away forests and soils contributes to water pollution. It eliminates entire ecosystems and contributes the world’s extinction crisis — over one million species are threatened with extinction according to the world’s scientists.

Sand mining is regulated as a matter of local land use in Massachusetts. The local municipal boards and committees in Southeastern Massachusetts that regulate earth removal are rife with conflicts of interest. No where is this more blatant and in the Town of Carver where the Earth Removal Committee that gives out the permits is composed of people who are in the very businesses the regulate-owners and operators of trucking companies that haul the sand, landscaping companies that sell the sand, and the “Cranberry Cosa Nostra” that owns the land where much of the strip mining is happening. One long time member of the Carver Earth Removal Committee, Dick Ward, proudly calls himself a member of the “Cranberry Cosa Nostra” and serves on cranberry industry boards.

Excerpt from profile of Dick Ward, Selectboard candidate, Posted Apr 25, 2013 at 12:01 AM

STORY FROM NEW BALANCE WILLISTON, Wicked Local

Quote from Mr. Ward:

Issue 3: Sustainable agricultural tax base. Our main industry is cranberries. My opponent has called the cranberry industry, of which I am a part, the “Cranberry Cosa Nostra.” Instead of calling our main industry the mafia, shouldn’t we be trying to encourage this industry to be sustainable? It’s our primary tax base! The industry helps support us and our tax base, so I’m an advocate of working with this industry.

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