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United States v. American Capital Land Corp.

Citation: 5 ELR 20705
No. No. S74-81(N), 8 ERC 1654/(S.D. Miss., 10/20/1975)

In an action under §§ 10 and 13 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, the court refuses to require the defendant land developer to restore completely three acres of marshland destroyed by illegal canal construction and dredge spoil deposits. While massive destruction of wetlands can have serious adverse ecological impacts, the loss of three out of the state's total of 64,000 acres of marshland will have only a relatively slight impact. In addition, defendant's violation of the statute in constructing the canals without a Corps of Engineers permit was unknowing rather than willful. Both the company and innocent, though negligent, purchasers of real estate would be severely penalized by an order compelling full restoration. Because of its insistence on complete restoration of the area, the plaintiff has not furnished the court with any proposed appropriate equitable remedies. The parties are directed to consult with each other and agree upon a proposed equitable remedy within 30 days. Failing such agreement, the court will conduct evidentiary hearings in order to determine an appropriate remedy.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Robert E. Hauberg U.S. Attorney
Daniel E. Lynn Asst. U.S. Attorney
U.S. Post Office & Courthouse
Jackson, Miss. 39205

Bruce J. Chasan
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Counsel for Defendant
Roy C. Williams
Megehee, Brown & Williams
3112 Canty Street
Pascagoula, Miss. 39567