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EPA seeks $23,500 in penalties from Pflueger for failing to comply with settlement order Landowner also paying additional fine instead of doing SEP work

Release Date: 11/21/2006
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(11/21/06) HONOLULU – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a demand for $23,500 in stipulated penalties from James H. Pflueger for failure to comply with a court order settling Clean Water Act violations associated with construction activities on Pflueger’s property at Pila’a on Kaua’i.

The consent decree, entered by the U.S. District Court in June, required Pflueger to meet specific deadlines to implement a supplemental environmental project that would have replaced cesspools on the north shore of Kauai in the vicinity of Kalihiwai Stream and Bay.

Pflueger chose instead to abandon work on the project by paying an additional fine of $221,000, which is allowed under the settlement. However, Pflueger missed two deadlines prior to making the payment. The stipulated penalties being demanded today relate to Pflueger’s failure to timely hire a project manager and failure to submit an inventory of cesspools at the project location.

“The consent decree with Mr. Pflueger contained strict deadlines,” said Alexis Strauss, water division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “Stipulated penalties for missed deadlines are necessary to ensure that Mr. Pflueger will carry out the important work required under the decree. Delays in the schedule mean a delay for the environmental benefits to stream, ocean and reef ecosystems at Pila’a. We will continue to oversee all aspects of this agreement, to prevent further delays.”

Pflueger’s property at Pila’a encompasses approximately 378 acres of coastal property on Kaua’i. Pflueger conducted grading and other land-disturbing construction at the site beginning in 1997 without obtaining permits. The activities included cutting away a hillside to create a 40 foot vertical road cut, grading a coastal plateau, creating new access roads to the coast, and placing dirt and rock fill into three perennial streams. As a result of Pflueger’s unpermitted construction activity, discharges of sediment-laden stormwater flowed into the Pacific Ocean at Pila’a Bay, damaging a beachfront home, the beach and coral reefs.

The June settlement included the payment of $2 million in penalties to the state of Hawai’i and the United States. Pflueger will spend approximately $5.3 million on the remaining remedial work required by the settlement to prevent erosion and restore streams at areas damaged by the construction activity.

For more information and photos: http://www.epa.gov/region09/water/npdes/pflueger/index.html

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