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For Immediate Release, March 4, 2008

Contact: Dr. Robin Silver, (602) 246-4170

San Pedro River Clean Water Act Violation
Complaint Filed Against Pinal County 

PHOENIX, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a formal Clean Water Act violation complaint against Pinal County with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop the ongoing destruction of rare San Pedro River habitat — an area on the lower San Pedro River, near Dudleyville, which is federal conservation land set aside to protect an endangered migratory songbird.

On February 7, 2008, Pinal County bulldozed open an “administration use only” easement on Bureau of Land Management conservation land after first declaring an “emergency” and exercising “eminent domain” authority to create an emergency open public crossing. However, no emergency exists.

On March 3, 2008, Pinal County again initiated construction activity in the San Pedro, including bringing in outside fill materials.

Pinal County does not have the required Clean Water Act permit for such construction activity. Section 404(a) of the Clean Water Act requires a permit “for the discharge of dredged or fill material into the navigable waters.” Pinal County has no permit.

Because Pinal County’s actions involve harming a federally protected endangered species within the species’ formally designated critical habitat area, a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also legally required. Pinal County has not applied for such a permit. The listed species is the southwestern willow flycatcher.

“Laws obviously mean little to Pinal County. We expect expeditious action from federal officials,” said Robin Silver of the Center.

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