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CALIFORNIA CATTLE RANCH, OWNER, FOREMAN PLEAD GUILTY

Release Date: 12/13/2001
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FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2001

CALIFORNIA CATTLE RANCH, OWNER, FOREMAN PLEAD GUILTY

Luke C. Hester 202-564-7818 / hester.luke@epa.gov


Masami Cattle Ranch (MCR) of Tehema County, Calif., and the ranch owner, Masami Ishida, and foreman, Manuel Madera Noriega, pleaded guilty on Dec.10 to violating the Clean Water Act. MCR generally operates a ranch with 5,000-8,000 head of cattle in Corning, Calif., and exports beef to Japan. The defendants admitted to discharging cattle waste without proper permits and dumping dead cattle carcasses into Elder and Willow Creeks and their tributaries, which run across the ranch. These creeks feed into the Sacramento River. The discharge of manure and dumping of dead animals into surface waters creates a risk of spreading bacteria and other pathogens which can harm aquatic life and animals that use the waters and can make the waters unsafe for recreational and drinking water purposes. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Ishida faces six months home detention and Ishida and MCR will also pay a $1.7 million fine, $700,000 of which has already been paid in civil penalties to the State of California and for improvements in the MCR waste management system. Defendant Noriega faces felony probation. The case was investigated by EPA = s Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from EPA = s Sacramento office and the Redding Division of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney = s Office in Sacramento.

R-244 # # #