Virginia Farm Sentenced for Illegally Filling Wetlands

The business will pay $300,000, and its owner was sentenced to 30 days' home confinement.

U.S. Department of Justice
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WASHINGTON — Boyd Farm LLC and its owner Frazier T. Boyd III were sentenced yesterday for criminally filling wetlands in Goochland and Louisa Counties, Virginia. Boyd Farm was sentenced to pay a fine of $300,000 and serve a year of probation for a felony violation of the Clean Water Act. Boyd was sentenced to 30 days home confinement and a year of probation.

At various times between 2017 and 2019, Boyd and his company had workers use excavators and other earthmoving equipment to pull vegetation, grub stumps and grade land at three sites in Virginia’s Piedmont region. The work left behind piles of dirt, slash and stumps. Operators hired by Boyd Farm then placed debris from those piles into wetlands and streams at the properties.

The Clean Water Act requires permits for such discharges into covered wetlands and other waters of the United States. Unpermitted discharges like these can destroy habitat and degrade the pollution cleaning function of wetlands. The United States does issue permits to fill wetlands under some conditions. Boyd Farm and Boyd knew of the requirement for these permits but did not seek or obtain them for any of their properties. In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued Boyd Farm an Administrative Order requiring compliance with the Clean Water Act and requiring restoration of impacted wetlands and streams at another property in Goochland County where unpermitted discharges had occurred.

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement.

EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division investigated the case, with assistance from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

Trial Attorney Elise Kent Bernanke of the Environment and Natural Resources Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Moore for the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case.

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