Macomb Co Developer Faces Lawsuit For Destruction Of Wetlands

Lansing, MI - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has announced that the Department of Attorney General and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) has filed a lawsuit against Chesterfield 5, LLC and Christopher Cousino for their destruction of 18.4 acres of regulated wetland in Macomb County.

Chesterfield 5 is a real estate development company which, in 2018, bought a parcel of land in Macomb County to develop and market as a commercial facility. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants illegally drained surface water from the property and planted crops on it shortly before applying for a wetland permit to build a large commercial facility on the land. This resulted in the destruction of approximately 18.5 acres of regulated wetland. The effect of the illegal activities was to make it appear as if there was significantly less wetland on the site, which would increase the likelihood of receiving a permit.

“This case involves the destruction of a significant amount of protected, regulated wetland,” Nessel said. “My office will not hesitate to protect Michigan’s natural resources from unlawful destruction.”

During its review of the permit application, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) reviewed historical aerial photographs, which clearly showed a large natural wetland complex on the site shortly before the application was filed.

“Wetlands are critical to a healthy environment. They provide food and shelter to wildlife and aquatic organisms, filter pollutants before they reach lakes and rivers, and provide flood control by soaking up stormwater like a sponge,” said Dan Eichinger, acting EGLE director. “The destruction of these regulated wetlands was illegal, unnecessary, and indefensible. We look forward to the Office of Attorney General holding those responsible to account.”

This lawsuit seeks relief under the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to hold the defendants accountable for their destruction of the State’s natural resources, and to restore the wetlands to their prior condition.

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