AD Makepeace TMUD development violates MEPA requirements for “transparency”, public engagement
The 2007 MEPA deal requires Makepeace to be “transparent” about its plans for developing over 6,000 acres in Plymouth Carver and Wareham – the TMUD
Makepeace refuses to hold required “stakeholder” meetings in 2021
Final “close out” public meeting a sham
Makepeace is being allowed to evade
accountability under the Massachusetts
Environmental Protection Act (MEPA) statute for the massive environmental
damage caused by its aggregate mining and solar projects.
For a decade the state MEPA has failed to do its job to prevent and minimize Makepeace’s “Damage to the Environment”.
Environmental review is required by MEPA. Makepeace got a special state deal to develop over 6,000 acres of “Tihonet Mixed Use Development” area in Plymouth, Carver and Wareham (TMUD).
It got a “Special
Review Procedure” allowing it easier environmental reviews. In exchange Makepeace was supposed to put land in conservation and have regular public meetings.
Everyone has to play by the rules of MEPA — but Makepeace is being let off the hook.
January 13, 2022: Makepeace required meeting a sham, lacks proper notice
Letter to state Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review agency
RE: Improper Pre-Filing Meeting Notice – AD Makepeace Project #1833.116
Yesterday the ADM Makepeace Company (ADM), thru its consultants Beals and Thomas (Beals), provided notice (Notice) of its intent to conduct a MEPA “Pre-Filing Meeting” in Carver, Massachusetts, on January 26, 2022.
This Notice was defective and unreasonable. ADM must be instructed to cancel this ‘pre-filing’ meeting and schedule instead two separate quarterly meetings – followed later by the pre-filing meeting it now seeks to railroad.
The Notice states that “the purpose of the meeting is to present information about the upcoming Final Environmental Impact report filing, which is intended to close-out the Special Review Procedure for the overall Project.”
This is the second time ADM and Beals have sought to circumvent the unambiguous obligations of the Special Review Procedure by attempting to accelerate its desired “pre-filing” meeting as a replacement for the two separate quarterly meetings it deliberately refused to conduct.
You are reminded that MEPA saw thru this eye-popping gimmickry in December 2021 when it flatly rejected Beals’ same efforts to escape the missed quarterly meetings by unlawfully merging them into a pre-filing session.
MEPA stated then – as it must repeat now – that because ADM failed to hold two of its required 2021 quarterly meetings, those two quarterly meetings should be held promptly, and “then the required public outreach meetings prior to filing the MEPA document can be held later.”
In other words, before a pre-filing meeting is valid, ADM must first correctly notice and complete the two quarterly meetings it failed to conduct, as these quarterly meetings are prerequisites to a pre-filing eligibility.
In addition to ADM and Beal’s legally flawed meeting maneuver, the proposed January 26, 2022, session is set to be held in Carver, Massachusetts, during a time of unparalleled COVID transmissibility. No less, the meeting room ADM deliberately selected is inadequately ventilated and grossly undersized. According to the host location, the room’s maximum capacity is just thirty persons. With proper social distancing, the number of occupants could be substantially less. On the other hand, the meeting invitation was sent to individuals and organizations, amounting to hundreds of people.
Carver’s reported positive COVID infection rates are already 40% higher than the statewide average. In fact, Carver presently has one of the highest COVID positive infection rates in the entire State and a worrisomely low vaccination rate – indeed one of the lowest in the entire State.
Combine this with the fact that many of the other meeting attendees live or work in neighboring Wareham, where infection rates are also problematic and where vaccination rates are likewise below the state average.
Add to this the disturbing level of accelerating breakthrough infections and the fact that reported infections in Carver, Wareham, and Plymouth likely represent a fraction of the actual cases due to the number of carriers without symptoms.
The Tobey Hospital and Jordan Hospital (the most proximate medical centers) report that they are already swamped. To say nothing of the fact that experts – worldwide – advise practicing preventative measures, which the proposed Carver location is unable to provide.
Subjecting participants to this potential super-spreader environment is also unconscionable because there is no arrangement for remote participation or local television broadcasting.
Gathering people into an undersized room without proper ventilation and without the ability to meaningfully social distance is either negligence of the highest order (some might even say bad faith) – or recklessly indifferent to human health (some might say bad faith of an even higher variety).
For the reasons noted, the compulsory quarterly meetings (emphasis added) must be appropriately noticed and scheduled with attention to common sense and human decency (facilities included). Delaying these same meetings until the current surge in COVID infections recedes meaningfully should also be encouraged. In any case, the meetings should be scheduled such that at least two weeks prior notice is provided thru the Environmental Monitor. 1
Barry C. Cosgrove, Wareham MA