Glencoe CampResort II L.L.C. and California Man Sentenced for Clean Water Act Violations
Acting United States Attorney Randolph J. Seiler announced that Glencoe CampResort II L.L.C. of rural Meade County, South Dakota, and Sean Clark from Hacienda Heights, California, pled guilty to and were sentenced for Clean Water Act violations on June 22, 2015, by Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.
Sean Clark, age 48, pled guilty to Knowing Discharge of a Pollutant From a Point Source Into a Water of the United States. Glencoe CampResort II, L.L.C., through its managing partner Devorah Lopez, pled guilty to Negligent Discharge of a Pollutant From a Point Source Into a Water of the United States. In accordance with the terms of the negotiated plea agreement, Clark and Glencoe CampResort II were each sentenced to four years of probation, with terms to include complying with an Administrative Order of Consent with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), preparing and following an Environmental Compliance plan, and a fine and Community Service payment of $250,000. Clark will also be required to perform 100 hours of community service in South Dakota.
The fine and community service are to be paid jointly and severally between the two Defendants. Of the $250,000, $83,000 was ordered to Meade County to be used for environmental purposes, $83,000 was ordered to the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and $84,000 was ordered to the United States.
“This case is a prime example of the Federal government working closely with the State, local communities, businesses, and concerned individuals to ensure our water sources remain safe and well suited for multi-purpose use,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler. “Public awareness and support for protecting and enhancing water quality has led to even more vigorous enforcement of environmental laws. And people who intentionally jeopardize water supplies will pay the consequences, as evidenced by the sentence handed down.”
Clark and Lopez purchased Glencoe CampResort II, L.L.C. in January 2009. Bear Butte Creek runs through Glencoe and is a designated cold water fishery by the State of South Dakota. The Creek has been designated as a navigable water of the United States by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. During the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the Creek is used by campers at Glencoe for recreational purposes. The Creek is also used by other downstream property owners for watering livestock on their properties.
In July 2012, concerned citizens called the DENR Water Rights program and the United States Army Corps of Engineers to complain about the lack of water in the Creek. As a result, a DENR representative made a site visit to Glencoe, and observed that a dirt dam had been constructed across the Creek impounding water.
It was determined that the dam at the Campground was approximately 75 feet across, 20 feet wide, and 6 feet high, and that approximately 500 cubic yards of material was used to construct the dam, and that the impounded water created a pool approximately 500 feet upstream. Due to the illegal construction of the dam without valid permits, both DENR and the Corps of Engineers issued a Notice of Order to Discontinue Illegal Use of Water and Notice of Violation and Cease and Desist letter to Glencoe. The dam at Glencoe was not removed as ordered, and litigation ensued.
“Federal waterways are regulated to protect water quality, wildlife and human health,” said Jeffrey Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in South Dakota. “The defendants’ failure to secure the required permits jeopardized the overall health of Bear Butte Creek, resulting in fish kills and a loss of water for livestock. Today’s sentence demonstrates that EPA and its law enforcement partners will remain vigilant in protecting our local water supplies on which communities depend.”
The investigation was conducted by the EPA, Meade County State’s Attorney’s office, Meade County Sheriff’s Office, DENR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan N. Dilges.