Carver: Shut Down AD Makepeace Co. Sand Trucking Hub: Read Custom Soils

  Katherine Harrelson  AD Makepeace

May 2024

 Demands to Carver Officials: Shut Down

AD Makepeace Sand Mining Hub at Read Custom Soils

Protect Public Health, Safety, Welfare, and Drinking Water!

Public urged to attend crucial public hearing:

  Wed., May 29, 2024

7 p.m.

Carver Town Hall, 103 Main Street

Meeting Room 1

 

  • CLWC demand strikes at the heart of AD Makepeace Co.’s sand mining operations

  •  Zoning Board must take immediate action to shut down AD Makepeace’s trucking terminal, Read Custom Soils, on Federal Road in Carver to protect public health, safety, welfare and drinking water 

  • Excessive truck traffic, air pollution, and operational practices of Read pose significant risks to the area’s residents, especially Environmental Justice communities in Carver

  • Read operates without the necessary zoning permits, thereby violating the law

Community Takes Action! 

CLWC and local residents are taking action against Read Custom Soils, the AD Makepeace sand mining hub at 46 Federal Road in Carver. The trucking terminal and distribution operation is at the center of Makepeace’s extensive sand and gravel mining operations in Southeastern Massachusetts. Makepeace’s strip mines its land for lucrative sand and gravel and sells it through Read. This is one of the biggest sand and gravel mining businesses in the Northeast U.S.

Watch this drone video shows the operations at and around Read.

Above: 59 Federal Road, Carver MA, May 2024. 120 acre sand mine underway since 2016. AD Makepeace clears forest to access sand. In 2020, the Carver Earth Removal Committee gave AD Makepeace a permit to expand the mine by 85 acres to access $36 million in sand and gravel. 

Read more about the massive mine at 59 Federal Road, Carver here.

Above: AD Makepeace sand mining 59 Federal Road in Carver, May 2024.

Below:  24 Federal Road in Carver MA, before and after mining. In 2019 the Carver Earth Removal Committee gave a permit to level the land by 40 feet and dig a pond. Makepeace is mining at this site to supply sand to Read.

 

Before: October 2018

 

After: July 2023. Over 24 acres of mining and dredging the Sole Source Aquifer for sand to supply Read Custom Soils. A former member of the Carver Earth Removal Committee, John Shurtleff, Jr. who operates a trucking company, was observed trucking sand from this site. He voted to grant the Earth Removal Permit in 2019. See the Permit here. 24 Federal Road – Carver Earth Removal Permit to Makepeace signed by John Shurtleff and others.  Read more about the involvement of Earth Removal Committee members in sand and gravel mining in Carver here.

Makepeace’s sand and gravel mining harms the environment, including our drinking water. Read what the experts say here.

The Read trucking terminal is located over the Water Protection District in Carver, the Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer, and near well protection zones for private and public wells. The trucking business has resulted in over 500,000 truckloads of sand and gravel being shipped off site. The sand and gravel filters and protect the underground drinking water wells.

Above: In just a few hours in 2021, the public documented 258 sand and gravel trucks coming in and out of Read Custom Soils at 46 Federal Road, Carver. Watch the video here.

Read more about AD Makepeace’s sand mining in: Sand Wars in Cranberry County: An investigation into the money, politics and corruption behind sand mining and its silent environmental crisis in Southeastern MassachusettsThe report is available here. Watch the video here. 

AD Makepeace claims that all this sand mining is just “cranberry agriculture.” Watch here as the Makepeace CEO and President Jim Kane try to explain to the Carver Zoning Board of Appeals in September 2021 why after 20 years of mining at 46 Federal Road, Carver the cranberry bogs still are not built. 

 

About the Carver Zoning Board of Appeals Public Hearing on May 29, 2024

There is a public hearing on Read on May 29 at 7 p.m. at the Carver Town Hall. This is open to the public. The hearing is about whether the town Zoning Board of Appeals should shut down Read.

In February, 2024 CLWC filed legal documents to try to enforce the zoning law to shut down Read. The state zoning laws allow anyone to demand that the building department stop violations of local zoning laws. The demand letter is here. If the department refuses, the next step is an appeal to the Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to enforce the law. The Carver building department refused to enforce the law. So CLWC appealed. Here is the May 22, 2024 CLWC letter to the Carver ZBA asking them to enforce the zoning law. 

The public hearing is a chance for CLWC, members of the public, and Makepeace to present information on why Read is not a simple “manufacturing facility” as Makepeace claims. CLWC’s legal argument to the ZBA is that Read is a  “trucking terminal” not a  “manufacturing” facility as the Town and Makepeace claim. See Makepeace’s 2014 permit for a manufacturing facilityhere.  Makepeace does not have a permit for a “trucking terminal”. This is what the ZBA will decide on. Then the Board will make a decision on CLWC’s demand to shut down Read.

If the ZBA refuses to enforce the law, the case can go to court. CLWC intends to appeal any refusal by the Carver ZBA to enforce the law against Read.

Read’s Trucking Operation Harms the Public Health and Environment

Read was never permitted as a trucking terminal. The operation of the trucking terminal is different from a “manufacturing facility.” Read’s trucking operations harm the public health and the environment by causing diesel emissions and traffic, unsafe road conditions, air borne emissions of carcinogenic silica sand and more. There has never been an adequate study of the harms and impacts of this operation.

Makepeace strip mines its land around Read and brings the sand and gravel to Read for trucking. The map below shows AD Makepeace strip mine sites around Read within a 2 mile radius before in 2010 and as of 2023. These are just some of Makepeace’s sites. The trucks coming in and out of Read come from these sites and others in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Below: 2010 Map showing AD Makepeace sand mines within 2 miles of Read. The areas are forested as of 2010.

Below: This is a Map of the same 2 mile radius in 2023. The strip mined areas are shown. Some are covered up with cranberry bogs. The bogs are used as a ruse for mining to evade the law. The real purpose of the mining is to supply Read. Find out more here.

Read’s dangerous, polluting truck traffic

For over a decade, the public has watched hundreds of trucks come in and out of Read daily.  The volume of trucks is documented by videos and personal testimonials.  A “manufacturing facility” does not have hundreds of tractor trailer trucks entering and leaving daily. 

Makepeace’s trucking terminal at Read dangerous traffic conditions on Federal Road and along the truck routes in Carver, Wareham and Plymouth. Federal Road is owned by the County and is a narrow rural road.

Here are some reports from local residents documenting the excessive truck traffic from Read:

  • This video shows 258 trucks coming in and out of Read in just a few hours in 2021.
  • This video shows 106 trucks in 14 minutes coming in and out of Read.
  • In 2021, a sand and gravel tractor trailer flipped over on Federal Road coming from Read. Listen to this police report of how the sand and gravel truck almost killed a resident and his granddaughter because it was going so fast before it flipped.
  • This video shows 14 trucks in 14 minutes coming from Read
  • Makepeace’s own truck logs show hundreds of trucks a day (logs available on request)
  • A court affidavit from a Wareham resident describes the hundreds of trucks a day leaving Read and Makepeace’s mines on Federal Road. 

Below: Sand and gravel truck flipped over on Federal Road, 2021. 

Trucks from Makepeace’s sand mining at and around Read

The Carver Earth Removal Committee is allowing commercial mining around Read. There are 3 permits for mining pits in the area. Each permit allows 50 truck loads a day.  Read more about Makepeace’s earth removal permits here. In April, 2024, the Carver Earth Removal Committee approved expansion of the 120 acre mine at 59 Federal Road. Read more about this mine here.

This adds up to about 530,000 truck trips over 10 years — and that’s assuming Makepeace sticks to the law. There are even more trucks associated with Read. No one knows the actual number of trucks coming in and out of Read but it is alot!

Read more about the Carver Earth Removal Committee here. It is dominated by people who make money from sand and gravel mining or who buy sand from AD Makepeace. 

Emissions of cancer causing silica sand into the air from Makepeace’s operations

The sand being mined and shipped from Read is a silica sand. It causes cancer. There are no state laws to protect the public from air pollution from this sand.

The Town of Carver and the state Department of Environmental Protection ignore the public’s written, formal complaints about the emissions of sand from silica mines in Carver and the surrounding area.

In 2021, CLWC filed complaints with Carver about Makepeace and Read exposing the public to silica sand emissions. They ignored the requests. See one of the complaints here:

2021 April Dust Complaint Carver Board of Health-AirPollution

Environmental Justice Community

Read is located in the heart of an Environmental Justice community. The Environmental Justice Community is shown in green on the map below.

An environmental justice community is one that is marginalized and overburdened with environmental pollution according to the state. Governor Healey has an office of Environmental Justice and Equity. The office is:

committed to ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of all environmental and energy benefits and burdens. We work with all agencies under the Secretary to ensure every policy and program is designed with equity at the center, ensuring all voices are heard and all voices are shaping the solutions. We are working hard to ensure there is meaningful engagement in all processes, resulting in more equitable public policies.

The Governor and the Office have done nothing to protect the EJ community from Makepeace’s strip mining and trucking operations.

Drinking water wells threatened says expert hydrologist

In 2022, CLWC went to court to try to stop Makepeace’s sand mining. World recognized hydrologist Scott W. Horsley testified that the mining operations at and around Read threaten drinking water. Figure 2 below is from Horsley’s court testimony. “Site 1” is the location of Read. “Site 2” is the 120 acre mining operation next to Cranberry Village. Read more here. 

About AD Makepeace & Read Custom Soils

AD Makepeace Cranberry Co., based in Wareham MA, claims to be the world’s largest cranberry grower and Massachusetts’ largest landowner. It owns about 12,000 acres of land in Southeastern Massachusetts. About 1,750 acres are used for cranberry agriculture. It derives most of its profit from sand mining on its 12,000 acres of land. Read more about the Citizen Suit and the story behind Makepeace’s sand mining here.

Makepeace used to be a real cranberry company. In 2008, Makepeace deliberately pivoted from cranberry agriculture to real estate development and sand mining due to the poor economics of the cranberry industry. The cranberry industry is still not economically viable and survives on taxpayer subsidies and state grants. Read more in the Sand Wars Report, Part IV, “Economics of Sand” here.

The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture (MDAR) calls it ” beleaguered industry” and gives out millions in grants to sand mining companies who claim this is all cranberry agriculture. 

Read more about how North Weston Cranberry Co. in Carver MA collected state grants for a sand mining site

Below: MDAR website explains how taxpayer funds are used to subsidize companies like AD Makepeace whose primary source of revenue is sand mining.

Find statistics on the cranberry industry here. Since the early 2000s, Makepeace has been making its money from sand mining — this is not cranberry agriculture. It set up Read Custom Soils on Federal Road in Carer to sell, ship and distribute the sand and gravel. Read is said to be the largest supplier of sand and gravel in the Northeast U.S. 

Makepeace can’t survive without sand mining revenue says CEO and President

Without the revenues from sand and gravel mining and sales, the Makepeace Cranberry Co. cannot survive according to the company’s  CEO Jim Kane. Kane says Makepeace employs 60 independent trucking companies to haul sand and gravel to least 10 asphalt and concrete manufacturers throughout New England, other industrial and commercial customers and some cranberry bogs.  See Kane’s affidavit here:  Affidavit of J. Kane

The core of Makepeace’s mining operations is about 2 square miles in the Carver-Wareham area on Federal Road.  Watch the 2022 video that gives an overview of Makepeace’s mining operations in the area  

Read operates on a portion of a large parcel of land, about 536 acres, owned by AD Makepeace. The Wankinko River runs through the bogs on the property which is surrounded by wetlands.

Listen to Kane’s plans for stripping land to put in solar here.

Gov. Healey, local officials refuse to protect public and environment from sand mining

Local government corruption

CLWC’s campaign against sand mining targets local and state officials and demands that they protect the environment from Makepeace’s sand mining. They refuse to do their job. They side with Makepeace and corrupt Carver officials allowing sand mining to happen. Read more about “Cranberry Country Corruption” in Southeastern Massachusetts and what some call the “sand mafia” here. Town officials give out permits for sand mining under false pretenses and in violations of the law. The state Inspector General is investigating corruption and sand mining in Southeastern Massachusetts. Read more in the Sand Wars Report.

State allows sand mining to evade environmental review

State agencies cover up for the sand mining industry and turn a blind eye to the environmental and public health impacts of these mines. The state has never required a full environmental impact study of the impact of Makepeace’s strip mining and trucking operations.

For example, in 2012 and in 2022, Makepeace’s development of its lands had to go through an environmental review. The state rubber stamped Read as an “agricultural project”. It never reviewed the environmental impacts of the sand mining operation. All reports are available upon request: environmentmentwatchsoutheasternma@gmail.com

The 2012 and 2022 environmental reviews were related to Read’s location in the “Tihonet Mixed Use Development” area on Makepeace’s vast land holdings. Find out more about Makepeace’s “TMUD” development here.

 

Above: In its 2012 environmental notice to the state Makepeace and Beals+Thomas stated the “Project Type” for Read Custom Soils operation on Federal Road was “Agricultural.” Does this look like an agricultural operation?

Below: View of Read Custom Soils, 46 Federal Road, Carver MA, July 2023.

 Makepeace reported to the state that Read would be located at 46 Federal Road in Carver to have easy access to the sand deposits to the east in Plymouth. This is the Plymouth – Frogfoot strip mine where Makepeace plans to extract 7 million cubic yards of sand and gravel. Falsely portraying the Plymouth mining operation as “agriculture” Makepeace calls the Plymouth strip mine the “Farm of the Future”. 

Even though Makepeace and Beals + Thomas always claim the strip mine projects are “agriculture” not one of the sand and gravel sales projects Read brags about on its website is “agricultural”. Instead there are golf courses, athletic fields, and urban roads. The “soil blending” operation is not for cranberry bogs as Makepeace misrepresented to MEPA. 

In its 2022 MEPA filing (FEIR) Makepeace’s consultant Beals+Thomas admitted the Read “manufacturing” facility does not exist:

“The soil blending facility was originally proposed to include an office and work space building and associated parking, a covered bin and pallet storage area with an adjacent concrete mixing pad area, a finished material storage building and associated covered areas for blending and storage, a dry-sand storage structure and associated concrete pad for drying sand and a scale. Although the soil blending facility is currently operational, the previously proposed full build-out, which included several buildings totaling 34,450 sf, as well as a 67,140 sf open canopy roof system, has not been undertaken.” MEPA report Page 1-13.  

To defend its “agriculture” false narrative,  in 2022 Makepeace claimed its aggregate mining was an “outgrowth” of cranberry growing. Read more about the state’s refusal to require an environmental impact statement for sand mining here.

CLWC’s legal campaigns to protect our water and environment

CLWC is a public interest non-profit group that fights for clean water and a safe environment for all. CLWC’s legal demand to shut down Read is just one aspect of the broader legal initiatives CLWC and its network of organizations and individuals purse to enforce environmental protection laws. When the federal, state, and local officials fail to fulfill their responsibilities ensure that all people have a clean water and a safe environment it falls upon us to take action!

We fight for people and the planet!

Read about Ten Residents case against Makepeace here.

Find out how to donate and support CLWC here.

Take Action!

Speak out at the upcoming ZBA Public hearing on Wednesday May 29th!

 

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