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Aberdeen Landowner Fined $14,000 for Wetland Violations

Release Date: 09/08/2008
Contact Information: Michael Szerlog, EPA/Seattle, (206) 553-0279 / szerlog.michael@epa.gov Suzanne Skadowski, Public Affairs (206) 553-6689 / skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

(Seattle, Wash. – Sept. 8, 2008) Jack Thompson and Thompson Leasing Company Inc. of Aberdeen, Washington have agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a $14,000 penalty to resolve allegations that the company illegally filled wetlands without a Clean Water Act permit.

According to EPA, in July 2003, Thompson filled 1.5 acres of wetlands on his property adjacent to the Wishkah River in Aberdeen. Thompson failed to obtain the required Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before performing the work.

In the fall of 2007, Mr. Thompson removed the fill from the wetlands on his property and began replanting the site under EPA direction. EPA continues to monitor the site to determine if the wetland restoration will be successful.

According to Tom Eaton, EPA’s Washington Operations Director in Olympia, construction in wetlands must be avoided if at all possible, but if not avoidable, then Section 404 Clean Water Act permits must be obtained first to minimize impacts to the environment.

“This is especially important in areas like the Wishkah River watershed where so many wetlands have already been lost,” said Eaton. “Wetlands like these help prevent flooding, stabilize river flows and provide valuable habitat for salmon and other threatened and endangered wildlife in Washington.”

For more information about EPA’s wetlands protection work, visit: http://epa.gov/owow/wetlands