Dalton fined $137,345 for environmental violation - Portion of money may go to The Nature Conservancy to buy up land

Associated Press
The Ledger-Inquirer


DALTON, Ga. - The city of Dalton has been fined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for improperly filling in wetlands and tributaries without a permit, federal officials said.

The agency's penalty will cost the city $137,345. But the city only has to pay the government $34,345 if it gives the rest of the fine to the Nature Conservancy for the purchase of land to expand the Chattahoochee National Forest.

City officials likely will appeal the fine, said Councilman Mike Robinson.

"We reported the problem," Robinson said. "I fail to see what the benefit would be of taking that revenue from the citizens of Dalton."

The city was fined for filling in 0.7 acres of wetlands and 2,276 linear feet of tributaries to Mill Creek without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, EPA officials said.

The city previously offered to purchase 30 acres of Conasauga riverbank for $324,160 to replace the damaged wetlands.

"We went out of our way to mitigate circumstances," Robinson said. "What they are wanting to do is fine us the maximum amount they can."

Information from: Chattanooga Times/free Press


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