PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection have filed a settlement with Jim Justice, the James C. Justice Companies, Inc. and High Mountain Living LLC resolving violations of state and federal environmental laws designed to protect the health of wetlands and waterways.
The settlement, announced Dec. 10, will restore and preserve the health and water quality of Turkey Creek, and its tributary, where 20 unauthorized dams were constructed. These waterbodies are located 2 miles from Gap Mills in Monroe County.
In addition to restoring and preserving?the areas affected by the dams, Justice and his companies will pay a $220,000 civil fine. High Mountain Living settled with EPA for the same Clean Water Act violations and will pay a $125,000 civil penalty.
As a co-plaintiff, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will receive half of these penalties.
The settlement resolves unauthorized discharges associated with construction of earthen, cement and stone dams for 1.5 miles of Turkey Creek on Justice’s property. Turkey Creek is a natural trout stream. These dams reduced water quality, changed water flow, reshaped the stream, disrupted fish passage and caused sediment build up, according to the EPA and DEP complaint.
A Clean Water Act permit is required for activities that involve the discharge of dredged or fill material into wetlands and other waterways.
Justice owns The Greenbrier resort, and he is a Democratic candidate for governor. Earlier this week, another lawsuit was filed against one of his companies for failing to pay more than $400,000 in legal fees related to a Louisiana lawsuit.