James C. Justice, II and James C. Justice Companies, Inc., and High Mountain Living, LLC Clean Water Act Settlement
(Washington, DC - December 10, 2015) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection filed a settlement withJames C. Justice II, the James C. Justice Companies, Inc. and High Mountain Living LLC resolving violations of state and federal environmental laws designed to protect the health of wetlands and waterways.
- Injunctive Relief
- Health and Environmental Effects
- Civil Penalty
- State Role
- Comment Period
Overview of Companies
James C. Justice, II and James C. Justice Companies, Inc., (Justice) own a large hunting and fishing preserve called Stoney Brook Plantation located in Monroe County, WV. High Mountain Living, LLC is a contractor who has worked for Justice.
The Defendants violated Sections 301 and 404 of the Clean Water Act by constructing 20 dams without a permit, in Turkey Creek and its unnamed tributary. The dams were constructed on 1.5 miles of creek on Justice property located approximately 2 miles from Gap Mills in Monroe Co., W.Va.
Under the terms of the consent decree, Justice is required to remove all 20 dams and restore Turkey Creek to pre-disturbance conditions. Justice will also apply for a Nationwide 32 “After the Fact” permit. In addition, Mr. Justice will be required to place a deed restriction on the restored areas of the property to prevent further disturbance.
Health and Environmental Effects
The settlement would resolve unauthorized discharges associated with construction of earthen, cement and stone dams in Turkey Creek, a natural trout stream, and one of its tributaries. These dams reduced water quality, changed water flow, reshaped the stream, disrupted fish passage and caused sediment build up.
Mr. Justice and the Justice Companies will pay a $220,000 civil penalty. High Mountain Living LLC settled with EPA for the same Clean Water Act violations and will pay a $125,000 civil penalty. As a co-plaintiff, the state of West Virginia will receive half of these penalties.
The State of West Virginia, by and through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is a co-plaintiff.
The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice website.
For more information, contact:
Melissa K. Raack
Water Enforcement Division
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW (MC 2243A)
Washington, DC 20460