1999 News Releases
EPA SAYS AMPHITHEATER SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION VIOLATES LAW
Release Date: 12/22/1999
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578
AGENCY URGES SCHOOL DISTRICT TO HALT CONSTRUCTION, SEEK PERMIT
(San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today sent a letter to the Amphitheater School District saying that land clearing and other construction activities at the New Amphitheater High School site violate the federal Clean Water Act. The District began bulldozing the construction site, which is on an area designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as critical habitat for the endangered pygmy owl, on Saturday, December 4.
Builders are required to apply to EPA for a stormwater discharge permit 90 days before construction starts. The District had sought to bypass this requirement by claiming coverage under a statewide general discharge permit. But the statewide permit does not cover projects likely to adversely effect designated critical habitat for endangered species. The letter from EPA's regional water division director, Alexis Strauss, confirmed that the District is ineligible for coverage under the statewide permit.
Strauss' letter followed a December 3 EPA letter, FAXed to the District on that date before construction began, warning that the statewide permit may not apply. The new letter informed the District that continuing construction in violation of the Clean Water Act, as well as stormwater discharges resulting from rain, would violate federal law and could subject the District to additional sanctions. The letter informed the District that it is required to apply for an individual stormwater permit and undertake a formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the project's effects on the pygmy owl and its designated habitat, before continuing construction on the high school site.
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