Connecticut couple fined for illegal boat ramp

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A couple from Montville, Conn., who failed to remove an illegal boat ramp constructed on the Thames River, was fined $100,000, according to Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal.

The ruling was made July 13.

Michael and Terry Lynn Liebig constructed an 11-foot-wide, 50-foot-long concrete boat ramp into the waterway and were in the process of creating a beach outside of their home. Blumenthal says his office was first notified about the violation through a phone call by a Montville town official in late August 2006. The construction destroyed 4,500 square feet of tidal wetlands, according to Blumenthal’s office.

“They had not applied for any local, state or federal permits to do this,” says Blumenthal.

In October 2006, the Department of Environmental Protection issued a cease-and-desist order against the Liebigs, who agreed at the time to rip out the landing and restore the wetlands.

“The DEP gave them repeated opportunities to comply with the statutes,” says Blumenthal. “A hearing agreement for the restoration plan provided a deadline for removal by June 21, 2008, and no later … When they discovered the failure to do the work, they called my office again in February of this year.”

Blumenthal says the Liebigs had a month from the date of the ruling to appeal and have not done so. While they removed part of the landing prior to the ruling, they have made no further action at press time to remove the rest or to restore the wetlands, he says.

“This major victory for the environment imposes one of the largest fines ever for tidal wetland lawbreaking,” says Blumenthal. “This couple defied the law, despoiling a significant section of irreplaceable wetland.”

The Liebigs did not return a request for comment.

This article originally appeared in the Connecticut & New York Home Waters Section of the October 2009 issue.