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Monday, July 14, 2014

Environment - "Swampbuster battle enters sixth year: Conversion of wetland to crop land at center of dispute"

Seth Slabaugh, Muncie Star-Press, reported July 11th in a long, detailed story that begins:

YORKTOWN — A wetlands dispute between the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and an alleged swampbuster is entering its sixth year.

IDEM recently issued a notice of violation to Larry Yeley, from McCordsville, that accuses him of clearing 15.8 acres of forested wetlands, including mechanical clearing of stumps, to convert the site to agriculture, in 2008.

IDEM says it asked Yeley in 2008 to either restore the wetlands along Delaware County Road 600-W south of Yorktown or apply for an “after-the-fact” permit, which could have been denied or resulted in an order for the wetland to be restored.

Yeley hired a consultant to analyze the property but never submitted a restoration plan or permit application.

In 2010, an IDEM inspection showed that the site appeared to be restoring itself. But in response to an anonymous complaint in February of 2013, the agency conducted a re-inspection, which found “you have continued to clear the site ... for row cropping.” IDEM inspectors say they found soybean stubble and unharvested soybeans within the previously forested wetland.

After issuing four informal violation letters in 2008 and 2013 that didn’t convince Yeley he had committed any violations, IDEM recently issued him a formal notice of violation, offering him an opportunity to enter into an agreed order to correct the violations, pay a civil penalty and avoid litigation.

ILB: Here is a copy of the Notice of Violation, signed May 2, 2014.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 14, 2014 10:11 AM
Posted to Environment