Wynn Resorts has been busy trying to get the Wynn Everett casino project up and running but delays continue to hinder the gaming group’s plans. The company has now had to further delay the cleanup of the site of the former Monsanto chemical plant, which is heavily polluted, due to legal challenges. The Wynn Everett casino project is located across the river from the city of Boston and will cost $1.7 billion once complete.

President of Development for Wynn in Everett, Robert DeSalvio, stated yesterday that the casino company will not be proceeding, for now, in regards to the new phase of cleanup due to the fact that the state environmental license of the company is under appeal by the city of Somerville, a town located nearby.

The first phase of cleanup began back in October and the next phase of cleaning was set to take place now with certain parts of the Mystic River to be dredged and then the shoreline cleaned up. This would have allowed for the docks to be developed as well as a harbor walk and other amenities.

Speaking from the Everett site yesterday, DeSalvio stated that Wynn wants to be sure that the company does not ‘run afoul’ in regards to any environmental regulations or law. Basically, stopping what they are doing. This announcement of the project hault comes just one month after Wynn Resorts put into an effect a hiring freeze, cancelling job fairs and postponing the groundbreaking of the project until spring, citing the Somerville legal challenges as the reason.

The challenge by Somerville involves the city appealing the decision by the state to grant Wynn the key state environmental permit to work in as well as along the Mystic River and the shoreline. This Thursday, both Wynn and Somerville are expected to meet with officials of the State Department of Environmental Protection to discuss the challenge.

Joseph Curtatone is the Mayor of Somerville, who stated that the announcement by Wynn on Tuesday was a PR stunt that is distracting from the real issue, resolving the substantial traffic and environmental impact the casino will have on the city. Curtatone stated that Wynn has known about the city of Somerville’s concerns for over two years now and has not tried to address them.

Environmental League of Massachusetts President, George Bachrach, is not convinced that the complaint by Somerville has any merit, especially when considering the environment. The project, according to Bachrach, represents positives to the local concerns of the environment including cleaning up industrial property that is contaminated, reclamation of the polluted river, increasing the public access to waterways and seeing the regional subway system subsidized.

Joining the officials of Wynn at the project site yesterday, Bachrach stated that the environment should not be the issue that is challenging the project. Carlo DeMaria, the Mayor of Everett, has called on Somerville to drop the challenge, stating the residents of the city have suffered long enough from the pollution located along the waterfront of the industrial area.