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Sacramento, Calif. developers agree to pay EPA $32,500 in penalties for wetlands damage

Release Date: 8/11/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711

Companies also agree to purchase wetland credits

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing today, a settlement with Race Builders Inc. and MRM Marine, LLC that would require the companies to pay $32,500 in fines and purchase wetland credits for filling wetlands bordering Magpie Creek in Sacramento, a violation of the Clean Water Act.

The companies will purchase approximately one acre of mitigation credits from the Sheridan Wetland Mitigation Bank, a 315-acre wetland preserve located 22 miles north of Sacramento. Mitigation banking allows restored or created wetlands to be expressed as "credits," which may subsequently be sold to developers to offset damages from their project.

"We are pleased the companies have agreed to address the consequences of their actions," said Alexis Strauss, director of the EPA's water division for the Pacific Southwest regional office. "We will continue to focus on protecting the vital resources of this area."

EPA officials inspected the site in November at the request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, finding that Race Builders had authorized the use of heavy equipment to move fill material into 0.31 acres of wetlands adjacent to Magpie Creek, which effectively destroyed the ecosystem. In January, the EPA ordered the companies to immediately stop their unauthorized activities and submit a mitigation plan to the EPA. The companies have complied with that order.

Wetlands provide many benefits including habitat for wildlife, recharge groundwater supplies, storage area for flood waters, and help to filter pollutants in water. Under the Clean Water Act, projects involving the dredging or filling of wetlands normally require a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The public may view the public notice and submit comments on the proposed penalty by visiting EPA?s Web site:

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