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Land development plans go underwater following EGLE lawsuit

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(The Center Square) – Attorney General Dana Nessel reached a resolution in her environmental lawsuit against a Macomb County real estate development group.

Chesterfield 5 LLC, and its consultant Christopher Cousino, are required to pay a $300,000 fine to the state to restore 15 acres of destroyed wetlands by June 2026. Nessel and the Department of Environment, Great Lake and Energy argued the development group is guilty of illegally draining surface water from the property and planting crops before applying for a wetland building permit, to make it appear as though there were less marshes present.

“The illegal destruction of our protected, regulated wetlands will not be tolerated in Michigan,” Nessel said. “We have a responsibility to defend the natural resources that define our way of life and support diverse ecosystems across the state.”

During the review of the permit process, EGLE uncovered aerial photos of a much larger wetland complex than what had been shown to them during the inspection. 30th Circuit Court Judge James S. Jamo of Ingham County ultimately ruled the group of violating Part 303 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act .

“The destruction of these wetlands was illegal, unnecessary and indefensible,” said Phil Roos, EGLE director. “We applaud the Attorney General for reaching a settlement that will both restore the damage and send a strong signal that in Michigan – the Great Lakes State – we take our water resources seriously and will aggressively pursue those who illegally harm these valuable public resources.”

The agreement states the development company and Cousino must submit a restoration plan to the EGLE by June 15, 2025. After redevelopment, Chesterfield 5 LLC can apply again to develop the unprotected parts of the property.

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