Carver: Town, State Allow Commercial Mining in Sole Source Aquifer on Meadow Street

  CLwpBS  Alex Johnson Cranberry

Town of Carver allows mining company and landowner to claim 12 year operation is “cranberry agriculture”

G. Lopes Construction of Taunton excavating at least $6 million in sand and gravel 

Neighbors homes covered with carcinogenic silica sand, can’t open windows, homes shake

Mining company dredging the Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer for sand


Below: Approximately 30 acre mining site on Meadow Street in Carver. Photo: March 17, 2022.G. Lopes Construction of Taunton and a defunct cranberry company, Alex Johnson Cranberry, claim the mining operation below is “just cranberry agriculture.” They make this claim to evade the Carver bylaw that prohibits mining like this. The pond was created by mining since 2011. There was a 110 foot hill here. Mining has gone 50 feet deep into the aquifer according to eye witnesses.

See drone video on You Tube: Save the Pine Barrens Southeastern Massachusetts.


Residents bring lawsuit after years of trying to get Carver officials to do their job to prevent harms from this mining

Above: Photo of resident’s car covered with sand from illegal Maki/Johnson open pit mine on Meadow Street, Carver. March, 2022.



This mining operation abuts homes, public and private drinking water wells, and the Weweantic River.  It is harming neighbors by exposing them to toxic silica dust which covers their homes and property. The dust prevents them from opening their windows and enjoying their yards. Their homes shake from the excavation and the truck traffic. Local, state, and federal government regulators are ignoring this destructive operation. The Carver Select Board is ultimately in charge but they have done nothing for over 10 years despite harm to their own residents.

Left with no choice, residents went to court. On July 17, 2023, Judge Glenny in the Superior Court denied the residents request for help and to shut this down. The residents filed in the Appeals Court. Follow the Appeals Court proceedings here on the docket.


Background — how did this happen?

The Town of Carver allows this mine to operate under the ruse that it is a “cranberry project.” The mining company and the town go along with this pretense to evade the law. The law in Carver prohibits mining unless it is legitimate cranberry farming (or a subdivision). Watch the documentary, 

Sand Wars: An investigation into the money, politics and corruption behind sand mining and its silent environmental crisis in Southeastern Massachusetts


Like many mining operations in Southeastern Massachusetts, Lopes and the landowner at this site are mining in the Sole Source Aquifer to maximize the volume of sand and gravel they can extract. They tell local regulators that they are building a “water hole” or reservoir to supply their cranberry bogs, or that they are building a “tailwater pond” to collect polluted water that discharges off the bogs.  Find out more here: 

Carver Earth Removal Committee grants permits under false pretense of “cranberry agriculture”

None of this would be possible without the Carver Earth Removal Committee going along with it. The Selectboard is ultimately responsible.

In 2011, the Carver Earth Removal Committee issued Maki, the landowner a permit to mine 545,000 cubic yards by leveling a hill to make a cranberry pond. The operation ran for over a decade despite harming residents and the environment and even though the permit had expired. Unbelievably, even though the pond is built and the water is not being used on the bogs, on March 26, 2023 the corrupt Carver Earth Removal Committee issued Maki-G. Lopes Construction another permit to continue the mining indefinitely.

Maki used the name of a defunct cranberry company, “Alex Johnson”to get the permit. They claimed it was necessary to level a hill to make the 11 acre reservoir to irrigate 12 acres of cranberry bogs.  When residents insisted and proved the permit expired the ERC issued a cease and desist in September 2022. Lopes and Maki kept mining anyway, expanding the pond and mining in the Aquifer.

The ERC was required to renew the 2011 permit after the first year. It was not allowed to let Maki operate beyond 5 years without a public hearing — until the 2022 cease and desist. The trucks continued speeding, exceeding the truck limit set by the permits, violating hours of operation and harming the neighborhood, home values, and groundwater. CLWC sent this demand to the Earth Removal Committee to enforce the law.  The ERC has conflicts of interest because the majority are in the cranberry, trucking or excavation business. As of June 2023, the ERC is down to 4 members – one works for AD Makepeace Cranberry, another is part of the “Cranberry Cosa Nostra” and the other two are mere window dressing.

ERC issues second permit in March, 2023

Despite the harm to the residents and environment from this open pit mine, the ERC issued Maki and Lopes a second permit in March, 2023.

GAF Engineering, Lopes and Maki filed for the new earth removal permit to extend the illegal operation for another 15 months.

During the 2022 and 2023 public hearings, Chair of the ERC Robert Ieronimo refused to provide for public TV recording of the hearings and ensured that the ERC rubber stamped the 2022 permit application. Speaking about the public hearings,  a spokesperson for Carver Concerned Citizens said,

“To say that we are disappointed is an understatement. I wonder what it is going to take for the ERC to do their job, which is to protect the residents of Carver.  I have yet to see one board in this town do the right thing. When residents showed the ERC pictures of silica sand from the operation covering their property and described the excessive and concussive noise and vibrations they have endured for a decade, causing cracks in their home’s foundations, we were treated with disrespect and dismissed. Town officials work for the residents, not for the sand and gravel industry.”

Carver Selectboard, ERC, Building Inspector and others complicit in allowing this to happen

The ERC, Board of Selectmen, Carver Police Department, Building Inspector and Board of Health have been asked repeatedly for years by local residents to stop the illegal operation, the trucks, noise, vibration and emissions of dust from the Maki-Lopes site on Meadow Street and at many other locations throughout the Town. Residents complaints and concerns continue to be dismissed and disregarded. Trucks run after hours with no consequences. Local residents homes shake and vibrate due to the industrial logging, earth removal, and heavy equipment. Dust emissions cover homes and cars every day.

State environmental agency covers up for “cranberry” company and will not shut it down

The state’s environmental agency ruled that the pond is 3 times the volume of water needed for 12 acres of bogs. Yet, it has allowed the company to continue mining in the Aqufer. done nothing to stop it.

On March 28, 2022, Ten Residents of Carver filed an appeal with the state Department of Environmental Protection challenging Maki’s claim of an exemption from the Wetlands Protection Act. On May 4, 2022, at 11 a.m. the MassDEP and Environmental Strike Force did a site visit to view the wetlands. Bette Maki refused to let the local residents on the site. The DEP ruled on July 30, 2022 that the reservoir was three times the size needed for 12 acres of bog and was not exempt agriculture but that the excavation did not harm the wetlands. All the DEP required was some erosion barriers. DEP is going along with this hoax.

On December 5, 2022 ten residents sent a Citizens Suit Law demand letter and notice of intent to sue to the Carver Earth Removal Committee and Massachusetts Attorney General over illegal mining. It has been ignored.





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