N.D. developer fined for illegal dredgingA North Dakota developer who planned to build a marina near Hankinson will pay a $15,000 fine to the federal government for what his lawyer calls an innocent mistake.
By: By Dave Kolpack, The Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — A North Dakota developer who planned to build a marina near Hankinson will pay a $15,000 fine to the federal government for what his lawyer calls an innocent mistake.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency said David J. Paulson and the Northeast Ridge Development Company failed to get a permit before dumping dredged material into a wetland area near Lake Elsie.
Paulson agreed to pay the fine and restore the area to its original state, EPA officials said.
“Mr. Paulson and Northeast Ridge have been very cooperative throughout the entire process,” said Ken Champagne, an EPA investigator. “He’s has done everything we’ve asked him to do.”
Paulson’s lawyer, Fred Strege, said his client did not intentionally violate federal regulations.
“I think Dave is a real good fellow,” Strege said. “He admits making an innocent mistake and things like this happen all the time. It’s just an unfortunate situation.”
About 1.5 acres of wetlands were affected by the dredging operation, the EPA said. The area provides habitat for wildlife and helps with water storage and flood control, officials said.
Paulson should have obtained a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, which alerted the EPA to the violations in 2005, officials said. Paulson was ordered to stop dredging and begin working with the government on repairing the damage.
Paulson had intended to develop the marina for a residential subdivision on the north shore of Lake Elsie. The project has been scrapped, Strege said.
“I don’t know if it killed the project, but it certainly altered the project significantly,” Strege said. “What might have been isn’t going to happen, but that’s not necessarily because of the EPA action.”