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United States v. Murff

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20199
Nos. No. MCA 80-0223, (N.D. Fla., 08/06/1982)

The court approves a consent decree requiring the operator of MK Ranches to restore 8,000 acres of wetlands located in the Florida Gulf Coast Panhandle. The decree is in settlement of a lawsuit brought by the federal government alleging that defendants had violated §§301, 309, and 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA). Under the terms of the decree, defendants are required to restore the wetlands to their original hydrologic and biotic regimes by means of plugging ditches, breaking dikes and roadways, and installing and maintaining water control structures.In addition, defendants must choose one of two alternate plans for the diversion of the ranch's farm pollution into a settling pond and then through a system of wetlands and tributaries for purification before it reaches Apalachiocola Bay. The decree also provides that defendants engage in no further ditching, dredging, or placement of fill in any of the ranch's wetlands, except as specified in the decree, until issuance of required FWPCA or Rivers and Harbors Act permits and maintain all restoration structures in perpetuity. Finally, the decree states that its terms do not affect current negotiations between the parties for the sale of specific ranch areas by defendants to the state of Florida or The Nature Conservancy.

The full text of this decree is available from ELR (24 pp. $3.50, ELR Order No. C-1286).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Carol E. Dinkins, Ass't Attorney General; William L. Want
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-5286

Counsel for Defendants
Jacob D. Varn
Carlton, Fields, Ward, Emmanuel, Smith & Cutler
P.O. Box 190, Tallahassee FL 32302
(904) 225-1585

Higby, J.