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EPA Fines Vail Resorts $80,100

October 19, 2003|From Associated Press

DENVER — A federal agency has fined Vail Resorts $80,100 for violating the Clean Water Act during its development of new powder-skiing terrain, an amount environmentalists say is too low.

The Environmental Protection Agency had said it was considering a $200,000 fine against the ski resort, but announced the lesser fine late Friday.

"The fine is nothing. It should clearly be 10 or 20 times that much," Rocky Smith, of the environmental group Colorado Wild, said Saturday.

Smith said his group and others likely will protest, and said that in a Telluride wetlands case a federal judge rejected the EPA's first proposal.

Carol Rushin, EPA assistant regional administrator, said the penalty was fair given the size of the violation -- less than an acre -- and Vail Resort's compliance history.

The settlement is part of a consent decree that will be subject to public comment before adoption in federal court.

Environmentalists sought to block the development of the area, saying it could be habitat for the endangered Canada lynx Colorado has been trying to reintroduce.

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