MEPA Takes On Cohasset’s Cat Dam NOI

Stephen Brown at Cat Dam – click on script at left to see poor quality movie.
We are working on this, trying to enter the modern age.

by Tanna Kasperowicz

Greg DeCesare of the Mass Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) met with all parties involved in the Cat Dam NOI and the appeal of that NOI Thursday, Sept. 8 at Cat Dam on Nichols Road. At the conclusion of an almost 2 hour meeting with over 30 people, DeCesare stated that the appeal had met several “thresholds” established by the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and that the appeal would go forward.

The Town hasn’t had any direct experience with MEPA in recent years. But some local officials say that once MEPA enters the picture, local control ends. All the technical agency people selectmen have tried to keep of the discussions since 2007 will now be invited in to discuss the Cat Dam Notice of Intent’s (NOI) compliance with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. Cohasset Selectmen had earlier denied their input when they decided to let some of the Cat Dam neighbors run the show and dissed their own conservation commission, which has jurisdiction over Cat Dam.  Ultimately, the Department of Environmental Protection will permit the project.

According to MEPA’s website: if a Project is subject to MEPA jurisdiction either it meets or exceeds one or more review thresholds that are likely to cause damage to the environment. The Proponent (the Town of Cohasset) will now begin the MEPA review by preparing and filing an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) with the Secretary. The Secretary publishes the appropriate pages of the ENF in the next Environmental Monitor. A 30-Day review period follows, during the first 20 Days of which Agencies, Persons, the MEPA Office (which ordinarily conducts a site visit and public consultation session), and the Secretary review and comment on the ENF. At the close of the review period for an ENF, the Secretary decides whether to require an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). If the Secretary does not require an EIR, an Agency may take Agency Action on the Project (see 301 CMR 11.05 and 11.06).

If the Secretary requires an EIR, the Proponent prepares and files it with the Secretary. The Secretary shall ordinarily require a draft and final EIR but may allow a single EIR. The Secretary publishes notice of the availability of the EIR in the next Environmental Monitor. A 37-Day review period follows, during the first 30 Days of which Agencies, Persons, the MEPA Office, and the Secretary review and comment on the EIR. At the close of the review period, the Secretary decides whether the EIR is adequate. An Agency may take Agency Action on the Project, provided that the Secretary has determined that the single or final EIR is adequate and 60 Days have elapsed following the publication of the notice of the availability of the single or final EIR in the Environmental Monitor.  

Present were the town’s attorney, John R. Hucksam, numerous but not all Conservation Commissioners, Selectmen Paul Carlson and Lee Jenkins, Town Manager Michael Coughlin, numerous members of the self styled Environmental 20 (E20), and Stephen Brown and Karen Quigley, spokespeople for the citizens appealing the vote by the Conservation Commissioners that endorsed the E20’s NOI.

 

© Copyright 2011 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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