Sand mining under the ruse of agriculture: Weston’s Franklin Marsh pit, Carver/Plymouth

Under the ruse of an “agricultural project” a Carver, MA cranberry grower, Gary Weston and his son Craig Weston are destroying pristine Pine Barrens upland forest and potential vernal pools to allegedly create 18 acres of bogs. The company name they use is “Franklin Marsh Cranberry” to cover up this strip mine. This is a ruse. The Weston’s are also strip mining under the ruse of agriculture in other parts of Carver. Gary Weston is the former Fire Chief who wants to lease his land in Carver for the 150 megawatt battery bomb in a residential neighborhood. More information on that site is on our website.

The Franklin Marsh – Weston strip mine site is on the Carver-Plymouth border. The Westons claim they have to remove 2 million cubic yards of earth to build the 18 acre bog. The law requires earth removal to be “necessary and incidental” to the primary use of agriculture. The 2 million cubic yards of earth Weston is removing is worth about $36 million. This is not “incidental” to a low-revenue cranberry farm.

State and local officials are going along with this ruse in a pattern of looking the other way for the sand mining and cranberry industry. Plymouth and Carver have both given “earth removal permits” to the Westons under the false claim of “agriculture”. Neither town has assessed whether the earth removal volume is “necessary and incidental” to the agricultural project. It is documented that the Weston’s have no “farm plan” for the site, even though they claimed they did in the permit application to Plymouth. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) confirms the Westons have no farm plan for this site. The towns are complicit in this fraud, as well as at many other sites in the area.

Weston has destroyed forests and an area that far exceeds what was necessary for agriculture.

This earth removal operation disguised as a cranberry bog is within feet of Darby Pond, an important Endangered Species Habitat designated by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species program as a “Priority Habitat.” No federal or state permits were obtained for this strip mine. The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office (MEPA) failed to exercise jurisdiction even after being notified.

This area is an important archeological site for the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe.

Franklin Marsh Strip Mine
Franklin Marsh LLC 2 million cubic yard earth removal operation

MEPA and state agencies have sidestepped all responsibility for this strip mine debacle that was done under the false claim of an “agricultural operation.” There was never any independent verification that a 27-acre strip mine to take out $18 million in sand and gravel was necessary for an 18-acre bog and reservoir expansion. This strip mine operation that has taken 2 years is within feet of private homes and wells and has caused houses to shake while generating dust and diesel fumes.

This strip-mining activity requires hundreds of tractor-trailer trucks a day. These trucks haul sand on local country roads in Plymouth, Carver, and Wareham. This is a public safety hazard. Videos show one truck on the road per minute — 60 per hour and 320 trucks per day.