EPA cleanup deadlines for Pflueger revised

Government agencies announced yesterday the updated deadlines for retired Honolulu car dealer James Pflueger to complete restoration work stemming from Clean Water Act violations.

The Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, the state of Hawai‘i and two local advocate groups released details of an amendment to a settlement derived from construction activities on Pflueger’s property at Pila’a Bay.

EPA officials cited delays in getting proper permits and necessary financial assurances as resulting in missed work deadlines set for fall of last year, which led to stipulated penalties against Pflueger for $135,000.

The revised deadlines call for Pflueger to complete work on parts of the restoration project by the end of 2008, with the rest of the work scheduled to be completed by 2012.

Still remaining within the agreement is the record $7.5 million Pflueger must pay for damages to Pila‘a Bay and reef. The Hawai‘i Department of Health, Kaua‘i County, Earthjustice, Limu Coalition and Kilauea Neighborhood Association were part of the June 2006 settlement with Pflueger.

The landmark case is the first involving the violation of the Clean Water Act by a single person at just one site to have reached the federal level. The previous highest fine ever for a similar infraction had been $125,000, but it was imposed at the local level.

Alexis Strauss, water division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, commended the revised work completion dates in a prepared statement.

“We are pleased,” Strauss said. “We will continue to monitor the progress of the restoration work at Pila‘a to ensure all of the required work is completed.”

Once completed, restored areas will be monitored for two years.

Pflueger’s property at Pila‘a encompasses roughly 378 acres of coastal land on Kaua‘i.

According to officials with the EPA, Pflueger conducted grading and other land-disturbing construction at the site in 1997, resulting in discharges of sediment-laden stormwater flowing through Pila‘a Bay into the ocean, damaging a beachfront home, beaches and coral reefs.

To view the joint stipulation decree, visit www.usdoj.goiv/enrd/consent_decrees.html.


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