AD Makepeace, BESS Battery Storage, Cranberry Country Corruption, General, Illegal earth removal, Sand mining in Southeastern Massachusetts, Sand mining in Southeastern Massachusetts, Solar Gone Wrong

Wareham: Win! Lawsuit to protect water, wetlands & wildlife from 50-acre mining and solar project by AD Makepeace Co. and Borrego Solar

Makepeace will clear-cut about 65 acres of forest, level hill on Tihonet Pond, and strip mine for 1 million cubic yards of sand & gravel

Borrego and Makepeace lose on motion to dismiss lawsuit

Our January 2023 Press Release on this case is here.

At 140 Tihonet Road in Wareham, AD Makepeace and Borrego Solar propose one of three large ground mounted solar projects These will destroy an additional 176 acres of pristine globally rare Pine Barrens, biodiversity, wetlands, cause water pollution and destroy Native American history — on top of what Makepeace and Borrego have already destroyed in Plymouth, Carver and Wareham. The 140 Tihonet Road hill is so high you can see it from the Bourne Bridge and Plymouth. The hill is a deposit of lucrative “Carver sand” laid down by the glacier that created Cape Cod and the Islands. AD Makepeace, Borrego and their consultant Beals+Thomas told Wareham about 2 million cubic yards of sand and gravel would be removed — about $18 million worth. When challenged by the public, they then lowered the volume to $1 million.

Tihonet Pond, Wareham MA. Photo courtesy of Matthew Buckingham, 2021. Buckingham is a plaintiff in the lawsuit to protect Tihonet Pond from the mining and solar project on the hill seen across the pond.

Here is the video of the March 22, 2021 public comment meeting of the state Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) on the three proposed solar projects. Makepeace CEO and President evades questions about where the sand from 140 Tihonet Road is going. Beals+Thomas consultants for Makepeace says they “may remove sand as part of its agricultural operations”

Makepeace sites most of solar projects on the highest hills within its vast landholdings. Then they mine for sand and gravel to sell. Like when it sites bogs, Makepeace claims the highest hill with the most marketable sand is the best place for the project. Who is kidding who?

At its solar sites at 160 Tihonet Road, Wareham and Charlotte Furnace Road in Wareham Makepeace told the Town Planning Board and MEPA the sand would be used to sand it’s bogs and so it was an “agricultural” use exempt from earth removal permitting.

Borrego Solar’s project manager confirmed how Makepeace choses sites for solar. Explaining that Borrego and Makepeace have done about 10 large ground mounted solar projects together, Borrego Solar project manager Zach Farkes said that Makepeace’s CEO Jim Kane choses the sites.

Farkes said this while speaking during a site visit with Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) analyst Alex Strysky and Staci Minihane of Beals+Thomas in Spring, 2021. Farkes stated to the effect “Jim Kane finds the hills with the good sand and that’s where we site the solar projects. He takes out the sand first then we come in with solar.”

Farkes referred to the dozen or so solar projects where Makepeace and Borrego worked together in this fashion. Some of these projects were reviewed by MEPA. These include 160 Tihonet Road (2 phases), Farm to Market Road in Wareham 59 Federal Road, 176 Federal Road (two phases), Cranberry Road (Cranebrook) in Carver and others in the area.

Wareham wetlands permit

Makepeace’s 140 Tihonet Road solar project needs a wetland permit from Wareham under the Town Bylaw and the state Wetlands Protection Act. On April 28, 2021, the Wareham Conservation Commission granted the permit, called an Order of Conditions.

On June 6, 2021, two Wareham residents who live near the proposed mining and solar site exercised their legal right to appeal the permit to Superior Court to prevent damage to the wetlands, waterways and the river from the mining and solar project. Makepeace and Borrego are fighting the appeal. They filed a legal motion to dismiss saying the residents did not have legal standing. Challenging legal standing is the favorite weapon of developers and they fight hard on this issue to try to get the case thrown out of court.

On December 9, 2022, Judge Buckley of the Superior Court denied the Makepeace-Borrego motion. Read the Wareham Week article here.

Makepeace-Borrego then asked Judge Buckley to “reconsider her decision.” On March 27, 2023, Judge Buckley issued an order denying the motion. The Judge said:

“Upon review and consideration of the motion, memoranda and opposition, the motion for Reconsideration is Denied. There is nothing raised in this motion which was not before the court when it heard the motion and entered its order. There has been no change in the facts before the court or law since the motion was decided.” See the Judge’s Order below.

This means the case moves to the next step and Borrego-Makepeace have to prove they are entitled to the permit.

Makepeace-Borrego misrepresentations to Wareham Conservation Commission about the mining at the 140 Tihonet Road solar site

In a letter dated March 18, 2021 (see below) Makepeace President and CEO told the Wareham Conservation Commission that all the sand and gravel to be extracted from 140 Tihonet Road “will be used for our on-going agricultural activities and is therefore not subject to earth removal permitting….” Read the letter below. It is not plausible that this much sand and gravel – 1 million cubic yards- will be used on Makepeace’s bogs. Makepeace used the same claim for other sites where it excavated millions of cubic yards of sand and gravel, such as the Golden Field Solar Site in Carver.

Makepeace often misrepresents its mining operations as “site preparation” for solar or “agricultural excavation” for cranberry bogs. Makepeace uses most of the sand and gravel to supply its subsidiary Read Custom Soils. Hundreds of trucks a day leave Read loaded with sand and gravel mined at Makepeace locations in Carver, Plymouth and Wareham. In Carver alone, the volume Makepeace has excavated under the ruse of agriculture is enough to fill Gillette stadium 3/4 of a mile high. Enough to smother every bog in Massachusetts. And causing irreversible and massive destruction of the environment.

Read more about Cranberry Country Corruption and the sand and gravel mining industry in Southeastern Mass.

When it comes to solar, its just another part of AD Makepeace’s long term plan to exploit, extract and destroy: first, log the trees and sell them, then strip mine sand and gravel, lease for solar for 20 years, then when the solar companies “take out their junk, we come in with a subdivision. Just planning ahead, that’s all”. Listen to Makepeace CEO Kane explain this scheme. He claims the solar is to “benefit the Commonwealth’s climate goals.”