WEYMOUTH, MA-In a blow to a proposed mega-mall/business complex for the shuttered Weymouth Naval Air Station, the US Environmental Protection Agency has expressed strong reservations about the impact of the project on the surrounding communities.

“We remain concerned that full implementation of the plan without effective mitigation will cause significant adverse environmental impacts,” the EPA’s New England regional administrator John P. DeVillars wrote in a letter to Robert K. Ostermueller of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Lester, PA. “The goals of the final reuse plan should only be pursued if they can be obtained without sacrificing environmental quality and the well-being of those who live and work in the host communities and the region at large.”

If the Mills Corp. of Virginia has its way, a 155-acre section of the 1,450-acre project would be converted into a 1.1 million-sf retail and entertainment complex. Other plans call for 1.4 million sf of research and development space, 700 units of senior housing and an 18-hole public golf course. The EPA cites concerns about the project’s impact on the local drinking water supplies, and says the mall would generate an additional 41,000 vehicles a day on already congested Route 3. Air quality would be seriously impacted as well, according to DeVillars.

Calls to Mills Corp. officials and local officials overseeing the redevelopment of the military base were not returned, but company officials have insisted previously that the impacts will not be as onerous as critics are claiming.

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