The federal Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed fines of up to $125,000 against three real estate developers, and said it would aggressively punish those who build illegally on protected wetlands.
"This is the first such action in the nation taken by the EPA under the new Clean Water Act," said Valdas Adamkus, regional administrator for the agency.
"Let it be a clear signal to developers throughout the country. . . . The EPA will no longer tolerate the wanton destruction of such a valuable and endangered resource as wetlands."
Two of the three projects Adamkus said had resulted in the illegal destruction of wetlands are in northwest suburban Chicago. The third is in Andover, Minn.
Adamkus identified the three developers, the propsed fines and the alleged violations as:
- The Kirk Corp., $15,000, for filling in one acre of an 18-acre wetland site in Streamwood, Ill., to build sales offices for a housing development.
- The Hoffman Group, $125,000, for filling in 6.2 acres of wetlands and building houses on the Hoffman Estates, Ill., site.
- The Woodland Development Corp., $75,000, for filling in portions of 22 acres of wetlands to build a golf course and housing adjacent to Coon Creek in Anoka County, Minn.
The developers have 20 days to respond to the proposed fines. The EPA then could conduct hearings on the fines.