For Immediate Release - January 27, 2010

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Reaches Settlement with East Bridgewater Man for Wetlands Violations

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley's office announced a settlement against an East Bridgewater man for clear-cutting approximately one and two thirds acres of freshwater wetlands at a property that he owns in West Bridgewater adjacent to Route 24. Under the terms of the judgment, entered today in Suffolk Superior Court and agreed to by both parties, George Millett will restore the damaged wetlands. Millett has also agreed to pay a $25,000 civil penalty and pay an additional $25,000 to the Commonwealth if the wetland restoration work and other settlement requirements are not completed by the predetermined schedule outlined in the settlement.

"Wetlands serve many important environmental functions and property owners who damage or destroy these valuable resources will be held accountable," said Attorney General Coakley. "This settlement will provide for the reestablishment of the wetlands destroyed when the property was altered and cleared by the defendant."

"Wetlands destruction endangers public and private water supplies and wildlife habitat, while severely limiting natural flood control and storm damage prevention," said Laurie Burt, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). "Restoration of these natural resource areas that are so vital to the Commonwealth is a top priority."

The complaint, also filed in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges Millett dredged, filled, and altered freshwater forested wetlands, a portion of a stream, and the associated buffer zones on a portion of his property to provide a location for business expansion without proper approvals from the MassDEP. The complaint further alleges that the defendant expanded and paved a dirt access road entering a portion of the property that bridges the wetlands and the stream and its' bank.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Betsy Harper, of Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Protection Division. Shaun Walsh, Tena Davies, and Dick Keller handled the case for MassDEP.