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United States v. Robinson

ELR Citation: 14 ELR 20056
Nos. No. 80-338-Civ-JM, 570 F. Supp. 1157/20 ERC 1181/(M.D. Fla., 08/26/1983)

The court rules that defendants violated the Rivers and Harbors Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) by filling a wetland area without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and orders restoration of the filled area. The court rules that the area in question was a part of the waters of the United States under the FWPCA. It was adjacent to navigable waters and met the definition of a "wetland" because it was predominately vegetated by plants adapted to saturated soil conditions. The court orders defendants to remove fill and improvements from the portion of the wetland for which no state or federal permit had been obtained and to replant the area with needlerush plugs. The court rejects defendants' argument that the restoration plan is unwarranted in light of the long period required for reestablishment of the natural conditions in the filled area. The court also rules that the restoration plan is not an unconstitutional taking because it merely returns the property to its condition prior to the illegal filling and because there is no evidence that the restoration will cause even a diminution in the value of the property. In light of the sizable cost of the required restoration, the court declines to levy civil penalties.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Ernst D. Mueller, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 600, Jacksonville FL 32201
(904) 791-2682

Counsel for Defendants
Allen C.D. Scott II
12 N. University Blvd., Jacksonville FL 32211
(904) 721-3280

Donald G. Nichols
340 E. Adams St. Jacksonville FL 32202
(904) 354-4510