EPA, DOJ settle with Whatcom County, Wash. landowner over wetlands destruction
“As part of the settlement, the property owner will restore these high quality wetlands,” J.E. (Sam) Ryan, director of Planning and Development for Whatcom County, said. “It is everyone’s responsibility to protect our wetlands because they serve an important function for the community by filtering the water we depend on.”
The restoration will cover nearly 12 acres of Blymyer’s property, where the wetlands were cleared for agriculture use. Another 19 acres will be set aside through legally binding restrictions for wetlands conservation, and Blymyer also will pay a $210,000 civil penalty.
“Permits act as safeguards for valuable wetlands and habitats while letting projects proceed,” Michael Szerlog, EPA Seattle office manager of the Aquatic Resources Unit, said. “In this case, the owners did not request a permit and the region lost wetlands that provide water quality benefits for wildlife and the community.”