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Federal shutdown delays wetlands restoration project


PITTSFIELD TWP. — The government shutdown led to delays restoring land that was moved to make way for a waste storage lagoon off of Quarry Road.

French Creek Bioenergy was asked to submit a restoration plan for the site to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after the company abandoned plans to operate a human waste storage lagoon on the property. The lagoon, which was protested by Pittsfield Township residents, never held treated human waste as intended, but residents said construction on the property disturbed area wetlands.

Bruce Sanders, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, has said the agency is investigating an “alleged violation of the Clean Water Act” at the location, but he did not comment on regulatory action involved in the investigation when contacted in May and later in September.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulates the discharge of dredged or fill materials into waters of the U.S., according to the Clean Water Act.

According to a joint status report filed before the Environmental Review Appeals Commission, French Creek Bioenergy has not withdrawn its permit to install from the Ohio EPA because it is waiting for approval of its restoration plan by the Corps of Engineers. Approval was delayed by the government shutdown, according to the document.

The report, filed Oct. 16, asked the parties to submit another status report in 60 days to advise the Environmental Review Appeals Commission on the status of the submission and/or approval of the restoration plan to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Gerald Phillips, attorney hired by several residents of Pittsfield Township, said residents are waiting to see whether the land on the property is restored.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

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