- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - Wynn Resorts has fended off a challenge to a key state environmental permit as it looks to finally start construction on its nearly $2 billion Boston-area casino.

Martin Suuberg, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, issued a decision Friday upholding the award of a public waterways license to the Las Vegas-based company in January.

Wynn said it will immediately start construction on the resort casino complex planned for the Mystic River waterfront in Everett once the environmental license is in hand. It’s aiming for a 2019 opening.

“This hopefully concludes one of the longest and most publicly scrutinized environmental licensing award in the history of the Commonwealth,” Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor, said in a statement. “Crews and resources are being readied and mobilized.”

But Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who had challenged Wynn’s environmental permit, says his administration is reviewing Friday’s decision and pursuing other ways to block the project.

The city, which sits across the river from Everett, had argued in its appeal that state environmental officials hadn’t properly considered all air pollution and traffic effects.

Curtatone noted that Friday’s decision included new stipulations advocated by Somerville, such as a requirement that Wynn provide a ferry service from Boston to the casino and a reduction in the duration of the license from 85 years to 50 years, among other things.

Somerville has until Aug. 2 to ask Suuberg to reconsider his decision. It can also appeal in state Superior Court.

The city already has four other legal actions pending, including a challenge to the company’s gambling license, awarded in 2014.

Wynn secured local building permits and had begun some environmental cleanup on the former chemical plant site in Everett before Somerville’s challenge halted work indefinitely.

It’s among two developers planning major resort casinos in Massachusetts. MGM is building one in the western Massachusetts city of Springfield, and the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is building another resort south of Boston in Taunton.

Plainridge Park, a more modest slots parlor and harness racing track, is already operating near the Rhode Island state line in Plainville.

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