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Somerset residents file last minute appeal to Prysmian Air Quality Permit issued by Mass DEP



A group of 12 Somerset residents filed a last minute appeal with the Department of Environmental Protection on the Air Quality Permit that was issued to The Prysmian Group, the company that plans to build a wind cable manufacturing plant at the site of the old Brayton Point Power Plant.

Brayton Point resident and local attorney Patrick McDonald informed followers of the Facebook group “Save Our Bay Brayton Point” that the group filed the appeal, citing concerns they had over the permit. McDonald said the appeal was delivered to parties overnight and that he will see everyone “at the hearings.”

The appeal comes after the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection approved the request for a permit earlier this month.

The filing is the latest chapter in a years long story surrounding the development of the former power plant site. Commercial Development Company, who owns the property, first leased a portion of the land to a scrap metal company who was found to be in violation of town bylaws when it was trucking in scrap metal through the surrounding residential neighborhood and loading it on to diesel powered ships, causing residents grief with both noise and health issues. CDC was fined over 3 million dollars in fines for continuing operations after being issued a cease and desist by the town. After not paying the fines, the town of Somerset has sued the company and was in court last month to be formally charged in the criminal matter. Both parties are due back in court next week for a pre-trial hearing.

In regards to the latest filing, Patrick McDonald issued the following statement:

“We hope that Prysmian hears our concerns and comes to the table with the neighbors. We were here first and no neighborhood should be treated differently from others. We have always said we welcome responsible development of Brayton Point and that also includes the construction phase.”

Somerset residents have been vocal in their efforts to ensure that whoever occupies the property prioritizes safety and health of nearby residents. Last fall, residents and a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals got into a heated argument over the ZBA’s approval of Prysmian’s business permit. Residents wanted no ships in the area that ran on diesel power and instead, wanted all ships to be powered by electricity attached to the shore. Residents said this provision would ensure limited noise and health risks. The ZBA originally approved the business permit with the shore to ship provision but went back on their decision a few weeks later at another meeting.

It is unclear at this time if the latest filings will delay the start of construction of the new facility.

Primary correspondent for the Greater Fall River area, Jess focuses on human interest stories and investigations into political corruption. She is a former fill-in host and digital contributor at The Howie Carr Show, former host of The Jessica Machado Show and SouthCoast Tonight on WBSM in New Bedford, former blogger at The Herald News and a former fill-in host at WSAR in Fall River.

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