Hoonah landowner settles EPA lawsuit

Payment to be used by local trust to purchase land, release states

Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hoonah landowner Clifford C. Walker has agreed to pay $36,267.50 as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency over alleged Clean Water Act violations.

A release states the payment will go to a local land trust to purchase and protect area wetlands. As part of the settlement, Walker also agreed to develop a plan to restore drainage and prevent erosion on his property.

Mark Jen of the EPA Alaska Operations Office said the settlement stemmed from a compliance order issued to Walker about a year ago that concerned unauthorized fill material in the wetlands. He said the parties involved have been in negotiations since and now both have agreed to resolve the issue.

A release dated July 13, 2009, states the former Whitestone Logging owner violated the Clean Water Act by failing to obtain the required permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during earlier construction of access roads and foundation pads. It states Walker allegedly used heavy equipment to place 3,000 cubic yards of fill material into one acre of wetlands and intertidal areas of Port Frederick.

The release states nearby wetlands and the intertidal areas were directly impacted by the site’s unauthorized activities and the fish and wildlife habitats were impaired.

It also states Walker had previously applied for and received permits from the Army Corps of Engineers for other projects, such as the construction of a dock in Hoonah.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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