Coakley reaches environmental settlement

Keith Loria Dec. 8, 2010, 2:29pm


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Monday that she has reached a settlement with a contracting company that allegedly violated the state's wetlands, tidelands and water pollution laws.

Cashman Dredging and Marine Contracting Co. allegedly violated these laws while completing a dredging project in the Porter River in Danvers, Mass.

"When companies like Cashman perform work in the Commonwealth's sensitive wetlands and coastal ecosystems, they must comply with the permits issued by MassDEP for that work," Coakley said.

"Here, Cashman's alleged failure to carefully conduct its dredging activities damaged important fisheries habitat in Beverly Harbor. The civil penalty and habitat improvement work required will alleviate the damage Cashman caused to the harbor seabed, and also help ensure that companies adhere to permit requirements during dredging projects."

The lawsuit alleged that the company dredged and disposed of sediment in the tidal flats of the Porter River and Beverly Harbor in both 2007 and 2008. In doing so, the company violated several state permits governing the project, Coakley claims.

Allegedly, Cashman dumped nearly 2,500 cubic yards of dredged material in Beverly Harbor, which provides federally designated, "essential spawning habitat" for winter flounder. This action is deadly to larval and juvenile winter flounder.

Cashman also allegedly dredged outside the permitted area in the Porter River and used a method called "side-casting" that its permits didn't allow. Because of this action, the habitat is not usable for the foreseeable future, Coakley claims.

Under terms of the agreement, the company is required to pay a civil penalty of $25,000 and will provide an additional $25,000 to improve the seabed habitat in Beverly Harbor.

Cashman must also remove certain existing boat moorings located in Beverly Harbor and put in "low-impact" moorings as a replacement.

Additionally, Cashman has entered into a consent agreement and final order with the USEPA requiring it to pay an additional $37,500 for the low-impact mooring installation, and another $12,500 civil penalty.

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