MassWildlife, Carver Earth Removal Committee, Zoning Inspector Refuse to Enforce Laws to Protect Environment from AD Makepeace Strip Mining

On August 9, a Ten Residents Group delivered notices of intent to sue to the Massachusetts Attorney General, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) and the Town of Carver if the regulators continue to fail to enforce environmental laws. 

On August 16, 2021, Save the Pine Barrens filed a complaint with the Carver Zoning Board of Appeals seeking a hearing on violations of the Town’s zoning laws by AD Makepeace. This appeal seeks a hearing before the ZBA.

The legal steps on August 9 and 16 follow efforts that started in April 2021 by local activists seeking to stop the massive industrial strip mining operations underway in Carver and Plymouth.

On April 6, 2021, Save the Pine Barrens, a non profit group first requested enforcement of the laws and explanations about the forest clear-cuts, strip mining and solar projects in Carver.

On May 13, 2021 activists sent another letter to the Town.

On June 1, 2021, the obvious conflict of interest that the majority of the Earth Removal Committee members have in regulating AD Makepeace was outline in a letter to the Committee. Two of the members do business with Makepeace and three of them are in the cranberry business. One member, Richard Ward, is so intertwined with the cranberry industry in the region that when running for selectmen, his opponend referred to him as part of the “Cranberry Cosa Nostra.”

Here’s a quote by Ward being interviewed during the race: “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.”

Additional letters with more information about violations were sent to Carver on June 14 and June 29, 2021.

On July 28, 2021 a letter was sent to Wareham and Carver about the danger to public safety from the excessive truck traffic coming from AD Makepeace sand and gravel removal operations in Carver.

The public’s request have been ignored. Carver has not responded to any of these, other than via June 1, 2021 letter from their lawyer to say there are no violations. This is obviously not true.

The laws are obviously being broken. Our state and local regulators refuse to act. The public therefore has the right to seek to enforce the laws to protect the environment. If state and local regulators don’t act within 20 days of August 9, 2021, the Ten Residents Group can bring a lawsuit to enforce the laws.

AD Makepeace strip mining in Plymouth

Under the guise of building a cranberry bog, AD Makepeace got a permit from the Town of Plymouth to extract 6.5 million cubic yards of sand and gravel along the Wankinko River. See GIS map below. This map shows that the excavation occurred the highest points of land – 100 feet – on the site. Google Earth maps show that excavation is continuing in this area.

AD Makepeace claimed to the Town of Plymouth that this permit was necessary to build cranberry bogs — while at the same time telling state regulators that it was not building cranberry bogs because the industry was in a slump, saying instead it needed to build land based industrial solar projects.

Plymouth has not enforced the earth removal permit against Makepeace and has collected no earth removal fees.

Who is DOER Commissioner Woodcock? He’s the person behind solar gone wrong in Massachusetts!

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is the state agency charged with writing the rules for who gets subsidies. The Commissioner of DOER is Patrick Woodcock who came to Massachusetts after working for Gov. LePage in Maine.

Woodcock is not a friend of the environment but a friend of industry. In Maine he used his state office to help make an illegal deal for a Spanish company, Avangrid, to lease state land to build a $1 billion transmission corridor through the Maine woods.

On August 11, 2021, a Maine court declared the lease Woodcock helped secure as illegal saying this was public land that could not be leased. A majority of Mainers oppose the corridor that would cut a swarth through 145 acres of Maine’s wilderness to import hydropower from Canadian megadams 1,000 miles away. The electricity is for Massachusetts – the very state where Woodcock is now head of the energy office. Woodcock has been using his position at DOER to promote the corridor for Avangrid in Massachusetts.

Here’s a 2014 email from Woodcock to the state agency in charge of the public land. He asks the agency to “accommodate” the request from the developer to lease state lands for the transmission corridor.

Here is a recording of a Massachusetts recent hearing with Woodcock being questioned about burning forests for electricity. He wants to weaken regulations but in place in 2012-science-based laws that protect the public from particulate emissions from burning trees for electricity and that protect our forests. Woodcock wants to call burning trees for electricity “renewable” and “green” energy — just like his regulations on solar call cutting down trees for solar “green.” And he wants Massachusetts ratepayers and taxpayers to subsidize this!

Notable quotes:

“Why move ahead on something that’s not even in effect and was reserved for MEPA, why on your own authority imported into the RPS program when we can’t find anything on section 11f of Chapter 25A that authorizes you to do that?”

“But on your own, you’ve hop-scotched over to an entirely new area of law enacted without any authorization in Chapter 25A?”

“But the decision to go with a 5 mile buffer when air travels across hundreds of miles and before the legislature authorized 5 mile buffers for the MEPA act itself seems to have been an extraordinary exercise of regulation making by your agency.”

“But this seems to be the case not of sharing burdens but of concentrating burdens on the remaining 11% of Massachusetts. How does concentrating the burden square with the intuitive feeling that burden-sharing is ok but disproportionate harm is to be avoided?”   

Here, Commissioner Woodcock is seen presenting at Vermont’s 2022 Comprehensive Energy Sector Workshop on the Electricity Sector. Woodcock discusses Massachusetts’ green-washed greenhouse gas reduction plans.

Next, Woodcock was asked about deforestation by caused by the Department of Energy Resources’ solar policy.  His answer was vague. The claim that DOER policies are protecting forests and ecosystems is contrary to what we see happening on the ground.  And the word is getting out.  As this video shows, Massachusetts now has a regional reputation for promoting forest destruction as part of its “green energy” plan.  Is that the kind of image Governor Baker wants?

This is not the leadership we want for Massachusetts energy policy. Woodcock should resign.

Strip mine & 50 acre solar site: near Golden Field Pond, Carver MA

BREAKING: May 8, 2021

New info & photos of deforestation & strip mining under the guise of solar energy & saving the planet: Carver, MA, USA

This is an AD Makepeace and Borrego Solar strip mine site.

Location: “Golden Field” solar project, Federal Road, Carver, Massachusetts. 50 acres of ground mounted solar out of 300 acres to date with another 190 acres planned in the same area. The site is within feet of a Golden Field Pond, designated by Massachusetts as a globally rare Priority Habitat for endangered species of plants and animals.

Photos provided to us by a reliable source over the last few days.

An estimated 2-4 million cubic yards of sand was strip mined by AD Makepeace Co. of Wareham MA for the 50 acre solar site between 2016 and about 2019.

Strip mine operations are underway to remove an additional 4 million cubic yards of valuable sand, leveling a 30 foot upland kame forest. There has been no biological survey to assess the status of the 220 plants and animals listed as special concern, threatened or endangered that are known to exist in this ecosystem.

At least $35 million in sand strip mined out so far at this area. This strip mine/solar site is one of 12 brought to us Borrego and AD Makepeace using ratepayer and taxpayer subsidies for “renewable energy” and “agriculature.”

Borrego Solar and AD Makepeace have been working together to site solar in this area for 10 years. The highest points of land were chosen to maximize the volume of earth that could be removed and sold for private profit.

At this site alone, 50 acres of globally rare pristine upland Pine Barrens forests has been leveled. Another 100 acres are planned to be destroyed under an Earth Removal Permit from Carver claiming this is an agricultural operation. We are working to shut this down.

Endangered Eastern Box Turtles have killed. Unknown rare biodiversity of the Pine Barrens ecosystem also destroyed.

Wampanoag cultural sites were allowed to be destroyed under cover of a letter from Mass Historic Commission.

This was allowed to pass Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review without an environmental impact report.

This is why we are fighting to save the Pine Barrens and standing with our Indigenous allies against destruction of life on Earth. Enough is enough.

This is why the three proposed Makepeace & Borrego Solar projects to strip mine and clearcut another 190 acres in Southeastern Massachusetts must be stopped.
Before and after photos and maps below. More details to come.

Borrego Solar Golden Field Pond Solar Site, Carver MA 50 acres of strip mining of globally rare Pine Barrens habitat

County Woodlot Earth Removal, Plymouth MA

Plymouth continues to be devastated by earth removal operations even though the Town changed its Zoning Bylaws to prohibit operations over 50,000 cubic yards.

One of the most glaring examples of the bait and switch and backroom deals involves sites off Long Pond Road in Plymouth. First, the landowner presented the Town with plans for a cranberry bog claiming this would be the “end use” for the earth removal operation. Once several million cubic yards were removed, with a backroom deal the landowner, Kingstown Trucking, got the Town to agree that land based solar would be fine to replace the cranberry bog that was never built.

Millions of dollars disappeared off the adjacent County owned “Woodlot” as Kingstown excavated ever closer to the property line. Then it managed to get a contract to remove earth from the County Woodlot for the “end use” of industrial land based solar. Residents sued to stop the project but lost on standing grounds. Today, there is no solar project. Just an empty pit. And lots of green in the landowners pocket.

For more information, go to the County Woodlot website: