The Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that Union Pacific has agreed to spend an estimated $31 million to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in Nevada by restoring 122 acres of streams and wetlands and implement storm water controls at its construction sites. UP will also pay civil penalties estimated at $800,000. The work will include “removal of illegal fill, restoration, monitoring, maintenance, and re-vegetation.”
“This settlement will restore Clover Creek and Meadow Valley Wash,” said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We are pleased that this agreement will result in the restoration of important mountain-desert streams and habitat for the state of Nevada.”
“Meadow Valley Wash and Clover Creek are valuable, sensitive water resources which provide habitat to many fish species and endangered wildlife, such as the desert tortoise and southwestern willow flycatcher. Union Pacific’s long-term restoration will restore Meadow Valley Wash and Clover Creek,” said Laura Yoshii, Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “This significant settlement underscores EPA’s commitment to protect valuable water resources in Nevada.”
The complaint against UP stemmed from work performed in 2005 after UP tracks were damaged following a January flood in southern Nevada.