New York, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice have filed a legal complaint against Dependable Towing and Recovery, Inc. and David A. Whitehill for illegally filling wetlands on his property in Falconer, New York in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The complaint seeks the restoration of the damaged wetlands by Mr. Whitehill and Dependable Towing and Recovery and financial penalties. The impacted wetlands are adjacent to Cassadaga Creek, which is a tributary to the Allegheny River.
Wetlands are valuable resources that naturally filter chemical contaminants from water and land and help control floods. Wetlands also support a vast array of bird, plant, aquatic and animal life. Damaging or eliminating wetlands can be devastating to downstream waters.
“By taking this action, the EPA is sending a strong message about the importance of protecting wetlands,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Wetlands provide enormous environmental benefits for people, fish and wildlife, and are particularly effective in controlling flooding and the sediment and pollutants from washing into rivers, lakes, streams and bays.”
In 2009, both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA issued “cease and desist” orders to Mr. Whitehill and Dependable Towing and Recovery after joint inspections with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation revealed evidence of unauthorized filling of wetlands. The EPA issued an administrative order in March 2010 requiring Mr. Whitehill and Dependable Towing and Recovery to remove the illegal fill from more than 16 acres of forested wetlands at the company’s facility, which was managed by Mr. Whitehill and located on his property. The owners and company did not comply with the order, resulting in the legal action by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced today.
For more information on EPA’s work to protect wetlands, visit http://www.epa.gov/region2/water/wetlands/