AD Makepeace is the largest private landowner in Eastern Massachusetts. Its current landholdings are at least 7,000 acres in several Towns. This land was acquired over the decades by various means. Makepeace classifies much of its land as “agricultural” gaining tax benefits provided for land that is held in this category.
AD Makepeace is the largest aggregate mining company east of the Mississippi. It is running earth removal operations at various sites in the Carver/Plymouth/Wareham area. The total number of sites is not known as information is not made public. Makepeace clear-cuts forests, sells the wood, removes topsoil and vast amounts of sand. The sand is sold off-site for uses such as concrete manufacturing, specialty soils, and golf courses. This is a highly lucrative and largely unregulated business.
Visit the Community Land & Water Coalition YouTube channel for video footage of AD Makepeace operations.
Makepeace runs its Read Custom Soils business of sand mining and sales out of two locations: one in Carver and one near Boston. Makepeace claims the earth removed from its land is used for “agricultural purposes” and the operations are exempt from laws such as the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws. The claims that some or all of the earth has been used for agriculture have never been verified.
To date, it is estimated that AD Makepeace has strip mined about 18 million cubic yards off sites in Carver, Wareham and Plymouth. Most of it is believed to have been sold off-site for commercial purposes. Residents of these areas are eyewitnesses to the extraordinary number of 18 wheelers hauling sand and gravel to the highways leaving Plymouth, Carver and Wareham from AD Makepeace sites. Groups are calling for an accounting of where this sand and gravel went and proof of how much was used for “agriculture” on AD Makepeace lands as often claimed.
AD Makepeace also specializes in land development. Its CEO, President and other corporate executives have backgrounds in politics and real estate development in Massachusetts.
The company is privately owned and therefore information about its operations are not publicly available.
AD Makepeace started off as a cranberry company. Its history includes conflict with its workers, largely Cape Verdean immigrants. This includes labor strikes in the 1930s.
Today, AD Makepeace’s logo is “inspired by nature.” Many ask if this accurately describes today’s AD Makepeace. While the company grows cranberries, the industry is not a quaint New England cottage industry as it is often portrayed. Today’s varieties of cranberry consume more water — a cranberry is 99% water. Our water, contained in the cranberries, is shipped off to be made into cranberry juice contained in plastic bottles and sold globally in a partnership between Ocean Spray and Pepsi. Cranberries themselves are mostly sugar and have no proven health benefits. Often, cranberry juice has as much or more sugar than Coke. Few cranberries are grown organically but instead require vast amounts of fertilizer and pesticides. These are stored locally and sprayed aerially on bogs.
Earth removal operations like those being conducted by AD Makepeace are destroying forests, biodiversity and threatening water supplies across the region. In Carver, Wareham and Plymouth, neighborhood watch groups are tracking trucks on local roads. On Federal Road in Carver it appears there is one truck per minute, 7 hours a day, 5-6 days a week entering and exiting various Makepeace locations.
Save the Pine Barrens recently busted AD Makepeace for violating its Carver earth removal permit by running trucks at 150% over the permitted level.
Makepeace’s own reports show violations — and according to Carver, these truck numbers don’t include sand and gravel sold commercially to cranberry bog companies.
There are criminal and civil penalties for violating an earth removal permit: $100 per violation. Bylaw section 9.1.9. The truck limit is 50 per day.
AD Makepeace’s CEO, Jim Kane, never responded to our request for a meeting to explain where all the sand went from the company’s 160 Tihonet Road strip mining operation.
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