Swinerton Builders Resolves Clean Water Act Allegations with $2.3 Million Settlement

Swinerton Builders Resolves Clean Water Act Allegations with $2.3 Million Settlement

Environmental Violations and Settlement:

The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly announced today that Swinerton Builders, a California-based construction company, has agreed to pay a $2.3 million penalty.

The penalty is distributed among the United States, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), and the State of Illinois.

This settlement aims to resolve allegations that Swinerton Builders violated the Clean Water Act and related state laws during the construction of solar farms in Alabama, Idaho, and Illinois.

Mitigation Actions and Restoration Efforts:

As part of the settlement, Swinerton Builders has committed to mitigation actions, including initiatives to restore the Portneuf River in Idaho and the purchase of stream credits to enhance the watershed surrounding the Alabama site.

These efforts are intended to address the environmental impact of the alleged violations and contribute to the restoration of affected waterways.

State Involvement and Accountability:

The states of Alabama and Illinois have actively participated in this settlement alongside the United States.

The collaboration emphasizes the accountability of Swinerton Builders for Clean Water Act violations and underscores the importance of cooperative efforts in addressing environmental concerns.

Government Officials’ Statements:

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division emphasized that this settlement holds Swinerton accountable for Clean Water Act violations.

Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance stressed the significance of enforcing environmental protection requirements, even in solar farm construction projects vital for combating climate change.

State Attorneys’ Perspectives:

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul expressed commitment to protecting clean water resources, highlighting the critical nature of clean water.

ADEM Director Lance LeFleur welcomed the settlement, noting its requirement for Swinerton to pay civil penalties and take environmental mitigation steps.

Background and Clean Water Act Violations:

Swinerton, a nationwide construction company with a strong presence in solar farm construction, faced allegations of Clean Water Act violations during the construction of solar farms in multiple states.

The complaint outlined instances where Swinerton failed to implement proper stormwater controls, neglected regular site inspections, and inaccurately reported and addressed stormwater issues.

Settlement Details and Penalties:

To resolve these alleged violations, Swinerton will pay a civil penalty of $1,614,600 to the United States, $540,500 to ADEM, and $144,900 to the State of Illinois.

In addition to financial penalties, Swinerton will fund significant mitigation projects, including a restoration project on the Portneuf River in Idaho and the purchase of stream credits in Alabama’s watershed.

Public Comment Period and Consent Decree:

The Justice Department’s Environmental Enforcement Section filed the consent decree with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.

Details of the settlement, including the consent decree, can be accessed on the Justice Department’s website.

Conclusion:

This settlement reflects a proactive approach to addressing environmental violations associated with solar farm construction.

The involvement of multiple states underscores the collaborative efforts required to uphold environmental regulations.

The agreed-upon penalties and mitigation actions signify a commitment to restoring impacted ecosystems and promoting responsible construction practices.

The public comment period allows stakeholders to engage in the process, ensuring transparency and accountability in environmental enforcement.

TDPel Media

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