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Landowner Agrees to Restore Alaskan Wetlands and Streams and pay $10,000 Penalty

Release Date: 03/02/2009
Contact Information: Heather Dean, EPA/Anchorage (907) 271-3490, dean.heather@epa.gov Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Anchorage, Alaska – March 2, 2009) Mr. David R. Sweezey has reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. Mr. Sweezey illegally filled wetlands and streams on his property located at Sly Fox Subdivision, 11460 Cobra Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska (the “Site”).

In July 2003, Mr. Sweezey used heavy equipment to clear, grade, and fill wetlands and streams to create a pond on his property without first obtaining a required Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Sweezey’s actions damaged 300 linear feet of nearby stream channels and 0.5 acres of wetlands on his property. The Site is adjacent to Craig Creek which drains into Cook Inlet.

According to Marcia Combes, EPA Alaska Operations Office Director, because Mr. Sweezey failed to cooperate with EPA to restore the damaged wetlands and streams, EPA had to pursue penalties in this case.

"Alaska’s wetlands aren't just valuable habitat for fish and wildlife, they contribute substantially to Alaska’s economy," said EPA’s Combes. "Construction work in wetlands and streams should only be undertaken with great care after securing the necessary permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If you work in wetlands or in streams, you must obey the law or you will face fines.”

In September 2005, EPA issued a Compliance Order to Mr. Sweezey requiring him to remove the fill and restore the Site. Since 2005, Mr. Sweezey had refused to restore the wetlands and streams. In September 2008, EPA filed a complaint against Mr. Sweezey, seeking penalties for the 2003 violation. Mr. Sweezey and EPA agreed to settle the matter. Under the settlement, Mr. Sweezey has signed an Administrative Order on Consent to remove the fill, restore the Site and signed a Consent Agreement to pay a $10,000 penalty to resolve the complaint. Under the Administrative Order on Consent, Mr. Sweezey has until July 31, 2009, to remove the fill and restore the Site.

For more information about the Clean Water Act Section 404 wetland regulatory authority, visit: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/pdf/reg_authority_pr.pdf

For more information about Wetlands protection work, visit:
http://epa.gov/owow/wetlands
http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/functions.html
http://www.usace.army.mil/

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