Van Hollen reaches settlement in wetlands violations suit

Keith Loria Aug. 25, 2009, 4:33pm

J.B. Van Hollen (R)

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline)-Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced a $45,000 settlement on Tuesday, in the Marinette County wetlands violations case.

In the settlement, Richlen Excavating, Inc., and Steven W. Stock agreed to pay penalties and costs for their alleged unlawful dredging and enlargement of two ponds and their disposal of eroded soils into the North Branch of Beaver Creek, a Class I brook and brown trout stream in Marinette County.

"For the protection of Wisconsin citizens and our natural environment, the Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with DNR to ensure that Wisconsin environmental laws are followed," the Republican attorney general said.

The case came about after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conducted an investigation and referred the matter to the Wisconsin Department of Justice for prosecution. Stock and Richlen Excavating, Inc., Stock's contracted excavator, were named as defendants in a civil enforcement action for these alleged 2006 violations of environmental protection laws.

Before the case was filed at the DNR's request, the defendants cooperated with the DNR and agreed to restore the stream and wetland areas. Both defendants agreed not to contest the civil charges, and to pay these penalties.

Marinette County Circuit Court Judge Tim Duket approved the settlement agreements entered into between the defendants and DOJ. In addition to paying penalties, the two defendants have agreed to monitor the site on an annual basis as part of their efforts to prevent the introduction of undesirable invasive plant species in the disturbed areas of the wetland.

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