Brayton Point sale in works

Redevelopment of the 300-acre decommissioned Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset is set to begin, but is likely to be a slow process.

The owner of the massive facility, which was the last coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts before it shut down at the end of May, told the Herald News that it has selected a winning bidder and that a contract for the purchase of the entire property will be announced shortly.

Dynegy Inc. of Houston declined to name the winning bidder, but state Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport said the company is from St. Louis and is experienced at buying industrial sites, cleaning them up, and preparing them for redevelopment. Rodrigues said the company has redeveloped coal and steel plants in other states.

Based on that description, the winning bidder could be Commercial Development Company, a St. Louis firm that describes itself as “a privately-held, diversified real estate acquisition and development firm whose principal competency lies within the repositioning and redevelopment of underutilized, distressed, or environmentally challenged properties.”

According to the company’s website, Commercial Development is cleaning up and redeveloping the EVRAZ steel mill in Claymont, Delaware, near Philadelphia. It announced in June plans to cleanup and redevelop a 468-acre former coal-fired power plant near Columbus, Ohio. And in September the firm announced it was selling a retired coal-fired power plant it had been cleaning up in Indiana to the state of Indiana for use as a port on the Ohio River.

Some have speculated that Brayton Point, which fell victim to the region’s shift away from coal- and oil-fired power plants, could play a role in offshore wind power development. Others have suggested part of the property could be used for a golf course or an industrial park.

The process of cleaning up the Brayton Point site and making it suitable for redevelopment is likely to take some time, depending on contamination levels at the property. For decades, the owner of the property has been Somerset’s largest taxpayer, paying $4.25 million each of the past two years, well below the $15 million tax bill paid during its heyday in the 1960s.

BRUCE MOHL

 

BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled round two in the legislative response to the opioid epidemic, this time focusing primarily on standardizing treatment options. CommonWealth reports what Baker had to say, while the Salem News, WBUR, and MassLive offer good overviews.

The House passes a sweeping criminal justice reform bill, setting the stage for a House-Senate conference committee to work on reconciling measures passed by the two branches. (Boston Globe)

The state’s Joint Bar Committee refused to pass along the nomination of Edward O’Reilly, a lawyer who lives in Hamilton but practices in Gloucester, to the Governor’s Council for a district court judge position. Governor’s Councilor Eileen Duff called the situation “tragic” and “unfair.” (Gloucester Times)

Rep. Marc Lombardo, a Republican from Billerica, filed legislation that would deny state funds to sanctuary cities, which would include Boston, Lawrence, Newton, Amherst, Cambridge, Northampton, and Somerville. (Lowell Sun)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The owner of the Fairmount Grille in Boston is preparing to open a 1920s-themed restaurant at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester. (Telegram & Gazette) Restaurateur Chris Rassias, who grew up in Worcester, tentatively plans to call the restaurant Josephine, after Josephine Baker. “It is exciting to be part of the rise and development in Worcester,” Rassias said. (MassLive)

Officials from the Pawtucket Red Sox and the city of Worcester were spotted in the owner’s box at a Worcester Railers game Tuesday night. Worcester is wooing the Pawsox. (MassLive)

A state agency will investigate the inconsistent manner in which Cambridge handed out liquor licenses for possible violations for state law. (Boston Globe)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants to tax pot sales as much as possible. (Boston Herald)

A Pittsfield lawyer is suing the city of Boston for he calls “extreme violations” of the First Amendment in connection with the Free Speech Rally held over the summer on Boston Common. (Boston Herald)

What would the annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade be without controversy? Different and hopefully enjoyable, says the new commander of the veterans’ council that organizes the March march down Broadway. (Greater Boston)

Ooops. One day after plans were filed for a Walmart supercenter at William Stanley Business Park in Pittsfield Walmart said it was not opening a store there. (Berkshire Eagle)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Senate Republicans are planning to use the $1.5 trillion tax cut to repeal the individual mandate in Obamacare and use the savings to fund the revenue shortfall created by the rollback that will largely benefit high income earners and corporations. (New York Times)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, denied he lied to Congress about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, saying he didn’t recall a meeting with subordinates about contacts while at the same time saying he rejected suggestions to deal with Russian liaisons. (New York Times)

House Speaker Paul Ryan announces that all members of the House and their staff will undergo training to prevent sexual harassment. (Associated Press)

ELECTIONS

A Globe editorial denounces Roy Moore because of the “credible, disgusting” allegations made about him and says he “deserves to lose” — but says the Senate should do nothing to block him from assuming office if Alabama voters nonetheless elect him next month. In a frank declaration that Bay State residents, in particular, would be throwing stones from a glass house to think otherwise, the editorial begins, “Massachusetts voters repeatedly sent a man some blamed for causing a woman’s death to the Senate — and nobody told us we couldn’t.”

A new WBUR poll indicates Newton Mayor Setti Warren is the lead challenger to Gov. Charlie Baker of the three Democrats currently campaigning, but otherwise the poll offers few surprises. Baker and Sen. Elizabeth Warren enjoy wide leads with a year to Election Day. (WBUR)

A Lowell Sun editorial laments voter apathy during the most recent municipal elections, and says automatic voter registration isn’t the answer. A news analysis by Paul Schimek in CommonWealth offers another approach.

A Haitian immigrant who has been a US citizen for less than two years is the first Haitian-American to be elected to the Brockton City Council. (The Enterprise)

EDUCATION

State education officials plan to announce a “new phase in leadership” later today for the Lawrence schools, suggesting state receiver Jeff Riley may be leaving after five years on the job. (Eagle-Tribune)

Simmons College announces it will name a new media college with the school in honor of the late PBS anchor Gwen Ifill, a 1977 graduate of the school. (Boston Herald)

Wealthy universities like Harvard are fighting back against Republican tax proposals that would tap into their endowments. (Boston Globe)

A private accounting firm hired by Mashpee school officials to reconcile a student activity account has determined the matter requires a criminal investigation and the school superintendent has turned it over to police. (Cape Cod Times)

New Bedford’s school superintendent said she plans to analyze the district’s compensation model, claiming salaries for principals are too low to remain competitive and the city is losing administrators even in the middle of the school year. (Standard-Times)

The Boston City Council will consider a proposal today to approve a plan for a new $123 million building for the Boston Arts Academy high school. (Boston Herald)

The Boston School Committee will outline policy recommendations tonight for changes to school start times. (Boston Globe)

Town meeting members in Lanesborough and Williamstown vote to consolidate all K-12 oversight in a single school committee with four members from Williamstown and three from Lanesborough. (Berkshire Eagle)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Steward Health Care System abruptly closed its labor and delivery unit at Morton Hospital in Taunton, saying it could not recruit enough physicians to care for newborns there. (Boston Globe)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A group of Marshfield residents who say discarded plastic bags clog storm drains and endanger marine life when blown into the ocean are pushing a measure to make the town the latest in the state to ban single-use bags. (Patriot Ledger)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Days after the head of the State Police retired in the face of controversy around forcing subordinates to alter the arrest report on a daughter of a judge, the second-in-command leader of the force also retired. (Boston Globe) The Telegram & Gazette reported that it was tradition for the deputy superintendent, in this case Francis Hughes, to step down if his boss left.

A former Whitman police sergeant with a side accounting business was sentenced to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud and embezzling money from a disabled veterans fund he oversaw. (Patriot Ledger)

MEDIA

Bloomberg is planning to launch a 24-hour news network on Twitter with 50 employees. (Axios)

Barstool Sports: A bit raunchy, and quite a bit successful. (New York Times)