The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 11, 1999


Kiely will bring legal expertise to Conservation Commission

"Are you sure you want to move from superfunds to septic tanks?" Although introduced in jest by Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom) chair Jo Rita Jordan, this was far from an illogical question.

The query came during an interview with new Carlisle resident, Carolyn Kiely of Hartwell Road, who appeared at the ConsCom meeting on May 26 to back her application for appointment to the board. Her background and enthusiasm quickly gained the support of prospective colleagues who voted unanimously to forward her name to the board of selectmen for formal appointment.

A practicing environmental attorney, Kiely has been employed for the past nine years by the Hazardous Waste Action Coalition (HWAC) of Washington, D.C., an association of engineering and science firms operating in multimedia environmental management and remediation. In her position as counsel and director of government affairs, she has provided legal advice to the board of directors, analyzed federal legislation, prepared testimony on such legislation and presented HWAC's positions on hazardous waste remediation, federal environmental budgets and general environmental issues.

No stranger to Massachusetts, Kiely graduated from Boston College in 1982 and, during graduate school years at Suffolk University Law School, worked as a senior research analyst for the state's joint house-senate committee on natural resources and agriculture. Her job included the drafting of legislation for Massachusetts General Law Chapter 21E and other hazardous waste regulations, as well as wetland protection, conservation restrictions and coastal issues. She is looking forward to getting up-to-date on both state and local developments, particularly those pertaining to wetland legislation.

During the ConsCom interview, commissioner Steven Hinton asked Kiely about her views on farming issues. Noting that she obviously is well-grounded in pesticide concerns, she pleaded ignorance of other small-farm matters. The big issues in Washington, she said, were point source run-off and feedlot contamination, mainly problems of large agriculture. Commissioner Tricia Smith observed sadly that local boards have no power to regulate point source run-off from residential properties and can only attempt to educate and cajole.

Questioned by commissioner Christine Bopardikar about her opinion on the often strident conflicts between the rights of property owners versus regulation for purposes of community welfare, Kiely had no easy answers. However, she noted that she had seen no case histories indicating serious judicial problems where wetland "takings" were at issue.

When asked the inevitable question about what had moved her to volunteer for the commission seat, Kiely said that as the mother of two children who would soon enter local schools, she wanted to become active in the community. Given her background, ConsCom seemed the ideal slot. While talking to the Mosquito later in the week, Kiely's excitement about the challenge was evident. "The commission has done such a wonderful job promoting environmental issues here," she said, "I just want to help push things along."

Lovers of the outdoor life, the new commissioner and her husband David Spotts, together with son Connor and daughter Sarah, look forward to a summer that includes swimming, biking, hiking and getting acquainted with their new surroundings.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito