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Press Release

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Sues Orange County Horse Racing Training Center Over Violations Of Federal Clean Water Act

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Peter Lopez, Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), announced today that the United States has filed a civil lawsuit against MARK FORD, MARK FORD STABLES, INC., MARK FORD STAGE ROAD PROPERTY, INC., and FORD EQUINE, LTD. (collectively, “Defendants”), seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) in connection with Defendants’ construction and operation of a horse racing training facility in Orange County.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “The defendants violated the laws protecting our Nation’s wetlands and have repeatedly discharged waste from their horse training facility into the waters of the United States.  This lawsuit will hold the defendants accountable for violating our environmental laws and require them to remedy the significant damage they have caused to federal wetlands.”

EPA Regional Administrator Peter Lopez stated:  “EPA is taking this action to enforce the Clean Water Act and protect America’s wetlands.  The defendants in this case showed a disregard for the law, resulting in the destruction of federal wetlands, among other violations.”  

According to the Complaint filed today in White Plains federal court:

Defendants own and operate a 76-acre horse racing training center and stables on two adjacent properties in the Town of Wallkill in Orange County, New York.  From 2007 to 2017, Defendants destroyed existing federal wetlands and rerouted streams in the course of building a horse racing training center at both properties.  In addition, Defendants have operated a concentrated animal feeding operation without a permit, allowing horse washwater and process wastewater to be discharged into waters of the United States.  Defendants also violated the terms of a stormwater construction general permit during construction work at one of the properties from January 2016 to February 2017. 

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This case is being handled by the Office’s Environmental Protection Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Tomoko Onozawa is in charge of the case.

Updated October 17, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-343