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Post date: July 14 2009

Attorney General Cuomo Sues Serial-polluter For Destroying Protected Wetlands And Damaging Natural Resources In Dutchess County

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (July 14, 2009) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he is suing the owner and operator of a waste dump in the Town of Dover, Dutchess County, for causing the destruction of a protected wetland and other serious damages to natural resources.  The owner of the dump, Salvatore Cascino, has faced repeated action from law enforcement for damaging New York’s environment.

The suit charges that Cascino and a company he owns and operates, Ten Mile River, LLC, began dumping construction debris on the 18-acre property in 2003 without obtaining the required State license.  The debris came from a solid waste processing plant in the Bronx that Cascino owns.  The suit also charges that Cascino filled large sections of a State-protected wetland and adjacent areas on the site with the debris, engaged in construction activities at the site that discharged pollution into a State-protected trout stream and its tributary, and disturbed the banks of both water bodies – all without obtaining required approval by the State.

“The blatant destruction of New York’s natural resources will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Cuomo.  “The operation of this illegal waste dump not only broke numerous state laws, but devastated a valuable wetland and polluted a protected trout stream.  This individual has a history of flouting New York’s environmental protection laws, and my office will hold him fully accountable for his illegal activities.”   

Attorney General Cuomo’s lawsuit seeks to prohibit Cascino from engaging in any further unlicensed activities at the site, including dumping waste, filling the wetland, or damaging Ten Mile River and its tributary.  Additionally, the Attorney General is seeking to require Cascino to remove all illegally dumped waste, fully restore all wetland and other areas damaged by the dumping, and pay substantial civil penalties for violation of State environmental laws.  Cascino faces penalties of up to $3,000 for each wetland violation, $5,000 for each stream disturbance violation, $37,500 for each day of illegal pollution discharges, and $7,500 for each violation of solid waste law, with an additional $1,500 for each day that the violation continued. Cuomo’s lawsuit was filed in the state Supreme Court in Dutchess County. 

Attorney General Cuomo has already taken action against Cascino for ignoring State environmental protection laws at another site.  In March 2007, the Attorney General sued Cascino and two of his companies for violations of wetlands, stream protection, stormwater, and solid waste laws at a dump site in the Town of Copake, Columbia County.  These activities damaged protected wetlands, a trout stream, and the habitat of an endangered species.  As a result of this action, Cascino was required to remove waste from the wetlands, discontinue the use of a bridge he illegally built on the site, pay a civil penalty of $82,500, and donate $50,000 to protect the habitat of an endangered species.  The Attorney General’s office continues to monitor environmental compliance issues at this site.

“New York’s streams, wetlands and wildlife habitat deserve to be protected, not wrecked through illegal activities,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis.  “The Department knows well the history of this matter and appreciates Attorney General Cuomo’s taking action.  It sends a clear message that the state will prosecute such cases to the fullest extent in order to prevent improper dumping and ensure a safe environment.”

The suit announced today is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Lisa Feiner of the Environmental Protection Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General Andrew Gershon and Special Deputy Attorney General for Environmental Protection Katherine Kennedy.  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 3 Office is assisting with the case.