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Vail Associates to pay penalty for wetlands violations

Release Date: 10/17/2003
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      Denver -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a consent decree today with Vail Associates, Inc. (VA), settling two alleged Clean Water Act wetlands violations associated with construction of the resort's Blue Sky Basin.
      In the fall of 1998 and the summer of 1999, VA built a temporary haul road through six wetlands without a permit. An October 1999 EPA Administrative Order required VA to restore the rare, high alpine wetlands adversely impacted by the road. The consent decree states that VA will continue the restoration and pay the United States a civil penalty of $80,100.
      "The penalty assessed by EPA is fair and reasonable given the environmental significance of VA's violations and its compliance history," EPA Assistant Regional Administrator Carol Rushin said.
      The settlement agreement, lodged with the federal district court in Denver today, starts a 30-day public comment period. Written comments should be sent to:

      Jon Lipshultz
      Trial Attorney
      Environmental Defense Section
      Environment and Natural Resources Division
      U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
      P.O. Box 23986
      Washington, D.C. 20026-3986

      At the close of the public comment period, EPA and DOJ will decide whether to ask the federal judge to approve the agreement, or modify or withdraw from it. In the event of a withdrawal, EPA and DOJ will either negotiate a new settlement agreement with VA or will proceed to try the case.