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Michigan real estate developer sued over illegal destruction of wetland ordered to pay $300K fine

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(CBS DETROIT) - A Macomb County real estate developer is ordered to pay $300,000 following a lawsuit over the illegal destruction of a wetland.

In a consent judgment filed on June 3, Ingham County Judge James Jamo found Chesterfield 5 LLC in Shelby Township and consultant Christopher Cousino responsible and ordered them to restore the property by June 2026. 

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) alleges that the company violated the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act by illegally draining surface water from a regulated wetland before applying for a permit.

EGLE identified 18.5 acres of natural wetlands that were impacted.

"The illegal destruction of our protected, regulated wetlands will not be tolerated in Michigan," Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. "We have a responsibility to defend the natural resources that define our way of life and support diverse ecosystems across the State. I am grateful for the rigorous efforts of our partners at EGLE, and to the attorneys in my office that secured this responsible and restorative resolution." 

Records show that the company and Cousino must submit a plan to EGLE by June 15, 2025, to restore 15 acres of the wetland and monitor the redevelopment over a five-year period. 

Chesterfield 5 LLC may still apply for a permit to construct the property after EGLE completes the wetland identification process. If approved, the company would only need to restore any part of the acres identified by EGLE in the restoration plan.

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