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Riverton WY man convicted of CWA violations for building three earthen dikes without permit

Release Date: 9/30/2004
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      Denver -- Twelve jurors returned a guilty verdict Sept. 28 against John Hubenka of Riverton, Wyo. for felony violations of the Clean Water Act. The verdict followed a five-day trial. The conviction stemmed from the illegal construction of three earthen dikes, without permits or authorization, in the Wind River, in violation of the CWA.

John Hubenka is the owner of property located approximately 19 miles west of Riverton, Wyo. Hubenka’s property is located north of the Wind River and the Wind River Indian Reservation of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes is located south of the river.

Investigation revealed that between March and April 2000, Hubenka conducted and managed dredging and construction activities in various locations along the Wind River for the purpose of constructing three large earthen dikes. Hubenka used earth moving equipment to discharge rock, sand, and other dredge and fill material into the Wind River in order to construct the dikes. The three earthen dikes altered the flow of the Wind River so that it flowed further south and more deeply into the Wind River Indian Reservation, carving out an area exceeding 300 acres of tribal property which, prior to construction of the dikes, was located south of the river but is now located north of the river. Hubenka failed to obtain any permits to discharge dredge and fill material into the Wind River at any of the locations where the dikes were located, as required by the CWA.

“This case demonstrates Region 8's continuing efforts to provide equal protection of human health and the environment in Indian country,” said Carol Rushin, Assistant Regional Administrator for the Office of Enforcement, Compliance and Environmental Justice. “We appreciate the time and effort of all those involved in the prosecution of the case,” she added.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, Denver Area Office. Legal support was provided by Regional Criminal Enforcement Counsel, U.S. EPA Region 8. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorneys Office, District of Wyoming.