Citizen Suit Law invoked to stop AD Makepeace

  CLwpBS  AD Makepeace

Enough is enough. For over a year, Save the Pine Barrens and local residents have demanded that Carver enforce the laws to stop strip mining – including the egregious AD Makepeace strip operations along Federal Road in Carver, MA. Nothing has happened — except that the Earth Removal Committee that granted the so-called permits is now effectively disbanded. Read more below.

Faced with the refusal of state and local officials to protect the environment, on March 15, 2022, twenty eight Massachusetts residents sent a Notice of Intent to Sue to the Jim Kane, Makepeace CEO, Mike Hogan, President and CEO of Makepeace’s real estate arm, the Makepeace Board of Directors, Christopher Ieradi, General Manager of Makepeace’s Carver Earth Removal Committee, Carver Building Inspector, Carver Zoning Board of Appeals, and Attorney General Healy. The Notice was filed by McGregor, Legere & Stevens, an environmental law firm, on behalf of the residents.

Here is one of AD Makepeace’s illegal mining sites on Federal Road — being done under the ruse of building a “cranberry bog reservoir.”

Does this look like an “agricultural operation”? Who is kidding who? Trucks loaded with our environmental heritage leave the site all day sometimes starting at 6:30 a.m.

Jim Kane, CEO of AD Makepeace calls this an “agricultural operation.” Location: Federal Road, Carver MA at the intersection of Hammond Road. March 29, 2022

AD Makepeace’s “agricultural operation” at the corner of Hammond Street and Federal Road, Carver MA. March 29, 2022. This entire area is inventoried by Massachusetts Historical Commission as “inventoried land.” This strip mine is being done with no environmental impact report and under an illegal and expired “earth removal permit” from the now-disgraced and effectively disbanded Carver Earth Removal Committee. The Carver Zoning Board of Appeals refuses to stop this industrial operation that violates the zoning laws. The land is zoned “residential-agricultural.” Industrial uses are prohibited in this area.

Earth Removal Committee: Conflicts of interest?

Extensive conflicts of interest pervade the sanding mining industry in Southeastern Massachusetts.

In Carver, the Chair of the so-called “Earth Removal Committee”, John Garretson, resigned after revealing is cozy friendship with Jim Kane, CEO of AD Makepeace (captured on video in a public meeting). Garretson’s company, Slocum Gibbs Cranberry is strip mining on Crane Brook in Carver under a permit allegedly granted by the ERC in 2011.

Mass Mapper GIS 2021 Location of Slocum Gibbs strip mine under the ruse of “agriculture.” No bog built in over a decade since strip mining began.

Slocum Gibbs mining site, Map 97, Lot 2, Carver Assessor’s Map. Pump in Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer as part of sand mining operation under the ruse of “agriculture.” Slocum Gibbs has now filled in this pond with unknown materials.

Then, John Shurtleff Jr., resigned. The State Ethics Commission is investigating conflict of interest complaints against Shurtleff and the current chair, Robert Ieronimo. Shurtleff admitted he hauls sand for Makepeace. How many conflicts of interest can one person have? Shurtleff was seen on March 29, 2022 hauling sand from land he formerly owned on Jabez Bridge Road where the Earth Removal Committee gave “Foley Farms” a permit to mine in wetlands in November 2021. Is this an obvious ruse to cover up Shurtleff’s involvement in sand mining while sitting on the ERC? Read more about Foley’s (and Shurtleff’s?) plan to strip mine in a wetland. MassDEP is “investigating” an appeal filed by Save the Pine Barrens to stop this blatant destruction of wetlands.

Town of Carver Assessor’s card showing River’s Edge Realty, owned by John Shurtleff, Jr., long time Earth Removal Committee member is part of Foley Farm LLC. Read more about the illegal permit the Earth Removal Committee gave to Foley Farms in 2021.
Shurtleff truck, Rochester Road, March 29, 2022 at 6:48 a.m.

Over a year of citizen’s trying to enforce strip mining laws

Save the Pine Barrens’ coalition of groups and individuals has been trying for years to get the Towns of Plymouth, Carver and Wareham to enforce the “earth removal” laws and to protect the Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer. The state has been asked to act. Residents’ concerns have been ignored. Met with indifference. This shows the powerful “cranberry” interests at work. No politician or regulator dares confront the Southeastern Massachusetts cranberry industry that is strip mining under the ruse of agriculture. Instead, violations are greenwashed under the fake veneer of “agriculture”. Behind the “quaint” image of cranberry bogs and Thanksgiving lies a dark and corrupt story of environmental destruction and greed. All sanctioned by the state.

Here is a history of enforcement efforts in Carver against AD Makepeace:

On August 9, 2021 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 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. State and local regulators continue to refuse to act. Enough is enough.

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