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Settlement Reached in Virginia Wetlands Case

Release Date: 11/02/2007
Contact Information: Andrew Ames 202-514-2007; Donna Heron 215-814-5113;

PHILADELPHIA (November 2, 2007) – The U.S. Department of Justice lodged three consent decrees last week settling a civil action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against six defendants for alleged violations of a wetlands protection section of the Clean Water Act.

The settlement, reached with Sea Bay Development Corp., Beechtree Park, Inc., Green Sea Farms, LLC, Elwood H. Perry, Frank T. Williams' Farms, Inc. and Ferrell’s Backhoe Service, Inc., resolves allegations that the defendants discharged and/or controlled and directed the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States at an approximately 1,560-acre property in Chesapeake, Va., without a permit.

The property, located west of Johnstown Road, east of Shillelagh Road, and south of the Whispering Pines subdivision, is known as the Sea Bay Site or Green Sea Farm.

The consent decree for Elwood H. Perry and Ferrell’s Backhoe Service, Inc. requires payment of a civil penalty of $65,000 to the United States. The consent decree for Frank T. Williams' Farms, Inc. requires payment of a civil penalty of $35,000 to the United States. The consent decree for Sea Bay Development Corp., Beechtree Park, Inc. and Green Sea Farms, LLC requires restoration and mitigation on approximately 873 acres of wetlands on the site, which will be preserved in perpetuity under a conservation easement or deed restriction. In addition, that consent decree allows the discharge of dredged or fill material in the remainder of the Sea Bay Site, subject to certain limitations.

The settlement, lodged Oct. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division, will be available for a 30-day public comment period. Copies of the three consent decrees are available on the Department of Justice Web site at: http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

For more information about wetlands and permitting requirements, go to: http://www.epa.gov/owow/ .