Agencies ‘swamp’ TWRA project

Agencies ‘swamp’ TWRA project

Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 9:25 pm
By: John Brannon Messenger Staff Reporter

By JOHN BRANNON Messenger Staff Reporter It was the Tennessee Depart-ment of Environment and Con-servation that called in heavy artillery in its battle with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency over the Black Swamp project near Kenton. On Friday, TDEC communications director Tisha Calla-brese confirmed that TDEC had consulted with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agen-cy about the project. She said TDEC has an ongoing relationship with EPA, the U.S. Corps of Engineers and other agencies. “Our staff is in frequent contact with the staffs of those agencies,” she said. “I am sure there were discussions of this matter as there are of many others. We copied the Corps of Engineers and EPA on the initial NOV (Notice of Violation) that was issued to TWRA in regard to their unauthorized construction activities in the Black Swamp area on Nov. 9, 2007. The Corps and EPA make their own decisions as to what actions they are going to take.” The EPA decision made re-sulted in a letter forwarded via certified mail to TWRA executive director Gary Myers. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that you are in violation of Section 301(a) of the Clean Water Act for discharging or directing the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into the waters of the United States,” James Giattina, director of EPA’s water management division in Atlanta wrote in a June 30 letter. “These discharges were made without a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit on the Black Swamp, Hop-In Refuge, north of the South Fork Obion River, west of State Road 89, in Obion County. “The unauthorized discharges impacted approximately 34.87 acres of wetlands during the construction of multiple berms and 3.03 acres of wetlands that were excavated in association with the construction of ditches and water control structures. “Because of the violation, EPA has issued the enclosed Administrative Compliance Order under authority of (the Clean Water Act).” The compliance order gives TWRA 30 days to submit to EPA a plan to restore the Black Swamp site; and restoration must be accomplished within 60 days of EPA approval. TWRA assistant director Ron Fox said TWRA may appeal the matter to the Water Quality Control Board. TDEC commissioner Jim Fyke did not return The Messenger’s calls about this issue. Published in The Messenger 7.15.08

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