Mass Historic Commission: Protecting our cultural and Indigenous heritage or working for Jim Kane, Makepeace and the cranberry companies?
Our extensive research shows that since at least 2008, Mass Historic Commission (MHC) has been rubber-stamping approvals for AD Makepeace to strip mine and/or build industrial solar. MHC reviewed dozens of archeological surveys done for Makepeace as required by the state.
All but once MHC found that even though the surveys show there was or may be evidence of Native American use and occupation of the land the artifacts were not “significant” to the agency’s research. MHC let hundreds of acres of land be strip mined and destroyed. This isn’t normal “development.” This is excavating into the earth up to 50 feet, digging into the groundwater, taking down hills up to 140 feet high. Denuding and mining. Carting away thousands of years of history in tractor trailer trucks for commercial sale.
The publicly available letters from MHC to Jim Kane and Borrego Solar are here. Makepeace land holdings were viewed as archeologically significant when the state review process began in 2007 under the Massachusetts Policy Act (MEPA). Since then, land has been denuded and strip mined without regard for its cultural and historic significance to the Wampanoag people and the community.
Under the ruse of “cranberry bog agricultural projects” AD Makepeace is destroying hundreds of acres of Wampanoag ancestral land. Makepeace has not built new cranberry bogs in over 12 years yet MHC keeps rubber-stamping Makepeace’s “cranberry bog” plans and the sand mining continues.
Additionally, a dozen Makepeace industrial ground mounted solar projects in Carver and Wareham alone have been rubber-stamped by MHC.
MHC operates behind a cloak of secrecy claiming it is protecting archeological sites. It refuses to make public any archeological information— even when the site is already destroyed. Read about the work of Nayyag Preserve working to change this in Massachusetts. In the meantime, we must stop Makepeace, Borrego Solar and MHC from destroying more Indigenous cultural land Plymouth, Carver and Wareham.
Ruse of agricultural projects
30 acres of mining, Hammond Street, Carver
In September 2019, Makepeace told MHC the company was going to build an agricultural reservoir for Makepeace’s cranberry bogs. MHC rubber stamped the plan saying there were no “significant archeological resources.” Significant to who, and what is the standard? There is no record of consultation with Indigeneous people. This is now destructive 30 acre strip mine. You Tube video here Strip mine operation is at 3:01. A 50 acre Borrego Solar project on Makepeace land abuts the site to the south and is shown in the video. MHC rubber stamped that for Makepeece, too.
130 acres of mining, Federal Road, Carver
In October 2019, MHC rubber-stamped Makepeace’s 85 acre strip mine at 59 Federal Road in Carver. Brona Simon of MHC once again bought Jim Kane’s claim that this was a cranberry bog project. Makepeace’s required archeological study shows the “Federal Road West Find Spot” that “provides information on ancient Native American land use and occupation”. Simon declared that this did not have “substantial research value” to her state agency. Kane is strip mining here now. Save the Pine Barrens is taking legal action to try to stop this mining operation and others in Carver.
Makepeace made the same claim in October 2010 about building a cranberry bog project in Carver across the road from the 85 acre site. This site was so archeologically significant it was identified as eligible for listing in the Natural Register of Historic Places “because it contains information on ancient Native American occupation and land use..during at least the Archaic Period.” Makepeace has not built the bog and it is believed this site is destroyed.
Large solar projects
MHC has rubber stamped at least seven large industrial scale solar projects for Makepeace in Plymouth, Carver and Wareham. All of these involved significant land disturbance and/or industrial sand mining.
These are the sites and the records are here.
Swan Holt Bog complex (REDP, former Makepeace officials are developers)
276 Federal Road Solar, 79 acres
0 Hammond Street Solar, 47 acres
Federal Road, Golden Field Solar, 50 acres
Proposed: 200 acres of solar at 140 Tihonet Road, 150 Tihonet Road and 27 Charge Pond Road
Farm to Market Road, 33 acres
Charlotte Furnace Road, 42 acres, see below
160 Tihonet Road, 50 acres (Phase C5, “Tihonet East”)
Plymouth: Jordan Road
Charlotte Furnace Road 42 acre strip mine and Borrego Solar site. Mass Historic rubber stamp in 2010 “no significant” archeological findings.