Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Issues Final Decision Upholding Order of Conditions for Keegan Werlin LLP’s Client Richard Cook
On December 29, 2014, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued a Final Decision in an appeal under the state’s Wetlands Protection Act, authorizing the placement and operation of an aquaculture project by our client, Richard Cook, on two acres in Popponesset Bay in the Town of Mashpee. Keegan Werlin LLP partner Barry Fogel represented Cook in the appeal.
The decision adopts the findings stated in a 44-page Recommended Final Decision, which was issued in November 2014 by Presiding Officer Pamela Harvey after an evidentiary hearing was held earlier this year. The decision rests upon a finding that the limited activities performed at the aquaculture farm will not disrupt the foraging activities of rare and protected bird species that feed in the area. The Mashpee Conservation Commission had approved the project in 2012, but a group of Mashpee residents appealed their order, after which the DEP Southeast Regional Office also approved the project. The group of residents continued to challenge those approvals, and this decision by DEP’s Commissioner results in the issuance of a Final Order of Conditions, which is the final permit required to allow the project to proceed.