Developer will pay for Stariski Creek pollution

Posted: Friday, July 15, 2005

Anchorage developing company Modeb Investments, which is partially owned by Cloyd Moser, will have to develop a wetlands conservation area near Anchor Point and pay a civil penalty for allegedly polluting Stariski Creek and wetlands, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's northwest regional office.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the EPA sued Moser and the company he partially owns, Modeb, and Clarence Abeldgaard, owner of Oceanview Enterprises, Inc., in 2002 for allegedly dumping fill material and storm water into the creek and adjacent wetlands without the proper permits required by the Clean Water Act. Moser owned land in the Stariski Meadows Subdivision, according to the EPA.

The Clean Water Act is a federal act that requires a permit for companies or individuals to dump materials into waterways.

The EPA started investigating violations in the subdivision when Abeldgaard was reported allegedly violating CWA regulations while building roads, said David Allnutt, assistant regional counsel for the EPA.

Abeldgaard said Oceanview Enterprises Inc. is no longer in existence.

Allnutt said Abeldgaard was the one who started developing the subdivision. Modeb bought land from Oceanview, and Oceanview was developing roads as a contractor for Modeb, Allnutt said.

The EPA alleged that Modeb instructed Oceanview to dump the materials without the proper permits, Allnutt said.

Moser said this started when Abeldgaard put an unauthorized road in the subdivision, adding that he did not authorize Abeldgaard to do anything. He said he did not dump any unauthorized materials into Stariski Creek or wetlands.

Moser referred to the EPA's suit as extortion.

"There's no way to fight back. They've got unlimited money and unlimited attorneys," he said.

A consent decree entered by federal district court Judge Ralph Beistline requires Modeb Investments to transfer more than $200,000 in land and easements to the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, or KHLT, for preservation and establish a 318-acre wetland conservation area to restore damaged wetlands, according to the press release.

KHLT is a nonprofit organization that preserves land with significant natural, cultural or recreational value on the Kenai Peninsula for public benefit.

The consent decree does not resolve the related claims of CWA violations with Abeld-gaard, according to the release.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Abeldgaard denied allegations he dumped material into Stariski Creek or adjacent wetlands.

"It's just trying to ruin a bunch of people's live," he said. "(I) never dumped anything."

He said he had no comment on the pending litigation.

In addition, Modeb has to pay a $12,500 civil penalty, according to the release.

The release also said the consent decree requires Moser and his company Modeb to remove fill from two roadways in the subdivision that were constructed in wetlands to improve site hydrology by installing culverts under a third roadway and to revegetate the restored areas.

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