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Somerville mayor wants public review of cleanup work at proposed Everett casino site

Posted by Jarret Bencks  June 21, 2013 09:48 AM

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The Mayor of Somerville is calling for public involvement in the remediation of the Monsanto Chemical Site in Everett, where Steve Wynn proposes to build a casino.

Such a requirement could provide residents of neighboring communities an opportunity to voice their opinions on how the site is developed.

On June 13 Joseph Curtatone submitted a petition to FBT Everett Realty, the company that owns the contaminated 35-acre plot along the Mystic River, to designate the land a Public Involvement Plan Site. The petition was signed by residents of Somerville, Everett and Boston.

"We believe it is vital that the citizens and officials of our three cities have a full opportunity to review, understand, and provide input on the remedial alternatives for the Disposal Site, the selection of the preferred remediation alternative, and the implementation of remediation," Curtatone wrote in the petition.

Curtatone said neighboring cities have a right to seek public involvement because leaching into the Mystic River and sediments that end up in the river may have negative environmental effects on nearby communities.

State law requires allowing public comment on all site assessment and cleanup reports submitted to DEP on Public Involvement Plan Sites, and for the remediation firm respond to the public comments.

Remediation company GEI Consultants is expected to present a report this month outlining alternative approaches to remediation and recommend a remediation alternative.

Curtatone has previously stated his opposition to casinos in general, and in a December interview with the Boston.com said he would exercise all rights under law to oppose a casino in Everett if it required a new I-93 ramp be built through Somerville.

Massachusetts state law requires any casino proposal receive referendum approval by the host community. It does not make any requirement for neighboring communities, but it does require the developer negotiate mitigation with neighbors. That process would be subject to review by the state's gaming commission.

Other abutting communities Medford and Malden have begun the process to negotiate mitigation, though Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn and the Medford City Council have both said they oppose the project.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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