Wareham: A.D. Makepeace strip mining and solar project at 140 Tihonet Road

  Katherine Harrelson  140 Tihonet Road

At 140 Tihonet Road in Wareham, AD Makepeace Cranberry Co. of Wareham and New Leaf Solar propose one of three large ground mounted solar projects. The 65-acre 140 Tihonet Road mining and solar project will level one of the highest hills in the region on Tihonet Pond in the heart of Wareham. As of late 2023, the three projects are stalled for regulatory reasons. CLWC and its network are committed to proper solar siting, not clearing forests for solar. Read more in the Mass Audubon study, Growing Solar, Protecting Nature.

At 140 Tihonet Road, Makepeace plans to level a hill visible from the Bourne Bridge and Plymouth.

Tihonet Pond, Wareham MA. The hill in the distance will be obliterated by A.D. Makepeace’s mining project.

Makepeace’s 176 acres of solar projects are at 140 Tihonet Road, 150 Tihonet Road and 27 Charge Pond Road in Wareham. This will completely destroy the ecosystems of some of the last remaining Pine Barrens forests on Earth. In 2022 and 2023, A.D. Makepeace clear-cut some of these forests. In July, 2023, CLWC and residents held a rally in Wareham to raise awareness about Makepeace’s destruction of the environment. Read the Wareham Week story here.

Photo: A.D. Makepeace Cranberry Co., Wareham MA, July 2023. Industrial scale logging operation.
Carver MA resident of Meadow Street holds a sign at the July 22, 2023 rally in Wareham, MA on July 22, 2023. The resident lives next to an illegal mining operation excavating sand and gravel in the Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer.

Makepeace is targeting its vast landholdings for sand and gravel mining. AD Makepeace, Borrego and their consultant Beals+Thomas told Wareham about 2 million cubic yards of sand and gravel would be removed at the 140 Tihonet Road site — about $18 million worth. When the public challenged this in a meeting in 2021, Makepeace lowered the volume to 1 million cubic yards, worth at least $10 million .

The 140 Tihonet Road hill is a deposit of lucrative “Carver sand” laid down by the glacier that created Cape Cod and the Islands. Watch the Sand Wars in Cranberry Country film to learn more about why sand and gravel mining is happening in Southeastern Massachusetts and the cranberry industry’s role. The Sand Wars project is an investigation into the money, politics and corruption behind sand mining and its silent environmental crisis in Southeastern Massachusetts. A.D. Makepeace Cranberry is at the center of the investigation. Visit the website at www.sandwarssoutheasternma.org.

Legal challenges

Since 2021, residents have been fighting this project. They filed two lawsuits. As of late 2023, both were unsuccessful in court. The community is continuing its efforts to ensure proper solar sitingn — and this project does not qualify.

During the lawsuits, in 2021, the Wareham Town Clerk submitted an inaccurate affidavit to support Makepeace’s efforts to get a lawsuit over the 140 Tihonet Road solar project dismissed. Read more here. Was this corruption?


Solar as a ruse for mining?

Makepeace sites solar projects on the highest hills within its vast landholdings.

According to Makepeace’s solar partner, Borrego, Jim Kane, Makepeace’s CEO and President chooses the hills to mine for sand and gravel, then Borrego comes along and installs solar.

Explaining that Borrego and Makepeace have done about 10 large ground mounted solar projects together, Borrego Solar project manager Zach Farkes said that Makepeace’s CEO Jim Kane choses the sites.

Farkes said this while speaking during a site visit with Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) analyst Alex Strysky and Staci Minihane of Beals+Thomas in Spring, 2021. Farkes stated to the effect “Jim Kane finds the hills with the good sand and that’s where we site the solar projects. He takes out the sand first then we come in with solar.”

Farkes referred to the approximately one dozen solar projects where Makepeace and Borrego worked together in this fashion. Some of these projects were reviewed by MEPA. These include 160 Tihonet Road (2 phases), Farm to Market Road in Wareham 59 Federal Road, 176 Federal Road (two phases), Cranberry Road (Cranebrook) in Carver and others in the area. These locations can be found on the interactive map on the Sand Wars website.

Cranberry agriculture as a ruse for mining?

At Makepeace’s solar sites at 160 Tihonet Road, Wareham and Charlotte Furnace Road in Wareham, the company told the Town Planning Board and MEPA the sand would be used to sand it’s bogs and so it was an “agricultural” use exempt from earth removal permitting. Read more and see documents on the Sand Wars website.

In March 22, 2021 during a public comment meeting of the state Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) on the three proposed solar projects, Makepeace CEO and President evaded questions about where the sand from 140 Tihonet Road is going. Beals+Thomas, consultant for Makepeace says they “may remove sand as part of its agricultural operations.”

2 thoughts on “Wareham: A.D. Makepeace strip mining and solar project at 140 Tihonet Road

  1. […] Wareham: Win! Lawsuit to protect water, wetlands & wildlife from about 65-acre mining and solar… […]

  2. […] March, 2021, the Wareham Planning Board approved a large ground mounted solar project at 140 Tihonet Road that will obliterate 72 acres of pristine Pine Barrens forest on the shores of Tihonet Pond. The […]

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