Saturday, July 16, 2016

Massachusetts Environment Police Accuse Property Owner, Son Of Altering, Filling Land In Violation Of State Laws Protecting Wetlands, & Keeping Farm Animals Within 100 Feet Of Brooks That Flow Into Municipal Drinking Water Supply

From the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General:
  • A Weston property owner and his son have been sued after allegedly altering and filling large areas of protected wetlands, and keeping farm animals in close proximity to brooks that flow into a public water supply, Attorney General Maura Healey announced [].

    The lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court [], alleges Santo Anza, Sr. and his son Alexander Anza conducted numerous unauthorized activities on the property in violation of the state’s environmental protection laws.

    According to the complaint, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) inspected the Weston property and observed that the defendants had built a stone wall along the bank of Stony Brook, cleared trees and other vegetation, and filled protected wetlands with rocks, gravel, and wood chips to construct an expanded driveway, livestock grazing areas, and a staging ground for cleaning and dressing animal carcasses, among other violations.

    The complaint further alleges Alexander Anza keeps chickens, geese, cattle, sheep, and pigs in fenced enclosures within 100 feet of Cherry Brook and Stony Brook, which feed into Stony Brook Reservoir, a drinking water resource for the City of Cambridge.

    “We allege that these defendants compromised the integrity of our wetlands and waterways by altering protected areas and keeping farm animals near a public water supply,” said AG Healey. “Wetlands are an extremely important resource in Massachusetts, and no one should alter or destroy them for their own benefit.”

    “Wetlands are valuable natural resources that provide many benefits, including flood protection, species habitat, and natural filtration for drinking water sources,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “MassDEP is committed to protecting these valuable resources, and supporting the appropriate prosecution of illegal wetlands alteration and filling activities.”

    With the lawsuit, the AG’s Office is seeking an order requiring the defendants to restore the altered wetlands, remove all animals from within 100 feet of the waterways, and pay civil penalties.
Source: Weston Property Owner and Son Sued for Extensive Alterations to Protected Wetlands (Complaint Alleges Defendants Filled Protected Wetlands; Kept Livestock and Poultry Near Brooks that Flow into a Public Water Supply).

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