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McGee has 'extensive' history of violations/Fairgrounds same as many others
REGION — Companies owned by Steven A. McGee have repeatedly violated statutes and regulations since the late 1990s, according to Department of Environmental Protection records, leading to a recent $22,000 fine imposed on McGee in May, after a civil complaint was filed against him by the Maine Attorney General's Office and DEP.
In June, McGee Construction, Suzanne and Rupert Grover and the Oxford County Agricultural Society signed a consent agreement with DEP to resolve environmental violations that occurred in 2010, while the Oxford Fairgrounds were being prepared for the Nateva Music Festival.
OCAS agreed to pay the entire $50,000 fine for the violations, which included filling and clear cutting wetlands and failing to prevent soil erosion, which contaminated a nearby stream.
Jackie Young, OCAS president suggested, after the agreement's signing, that McGee had provided OCAS with some donations to cover the cost of the fines.
DEP records show the 2010 violations are part of a long history of violating environmental regulations by Steven McGee and companies affiliated with him.
Eleven separate enforcement actions for violations against air, land, asbestos, mining and solid waste regulations have been brought against McGee and his associated companies by DEP and finalized since 1998.
The violations took place across western and central Maine. Multiple violations have been recorded in the same area – three times in Augusta, twice in Winthrop, Gardiner, Pittston and West Gardiner – where the McGee companies are located – and also in Sabattus, Monmouth and Oxford.
The volume, regularity, and similarity of the violations resulted in a civil complaint being filed against McGee and McGee Properties LLC by the Maine Attorney General's Office for another set of violations in Pittston, Gardiner and West Gardiner.
The complaint notes that McGee repeatedly violated the same land use statutes and regulations, despite previously entering into administrative consent agreements with DEP to resolve the violations.
AG gets involved
According to the state's complaint, filed May 22, 2012 with the Kennebec County Superior Court, McGee and McGee Properties violated Maine's Erosion and Sedimentation Control Law, the Stormwater Management Law, the Protection and Improvement of Waters Law and the Natural Resources Protection Act on four properties in the three towns.
These are the exact same statutes violated at the Oxford Fairgrounds in 2010.
According to the state's complaint, DEP delivered six notices of violation related to the properties to McGee between 2009 and 2012.
According to Assistant Attorney General Jerry Reid, the the AG's office normally becomes involved in environmental enforcement when requested to by DEP either because the case cannot be settled with an administrative consent agreement, is overly complicated or becomes too contentious.
The long history of violations on the part of McGee led DEP to refer the case to the attorney general's office, Reid says.
An extensive history
In the complaint, the state cites the history of violations committed by McGee and McGee companies as an aggravating factor in the case.
"Steven A. McGee and McGee Properties have an extensive history of violations of Maine's environmental and land use statutes and regulations, including the same statutes and regulations that give rise to this complaint," the complaint reads.
The complaint lists four previous examples of violations of the Erosion and Sedimentation Law, three in 2004 in Augusta and Winthrop and one in 2007 in Pittston.
The AG's office and DEP note the pattern of violations constitutes an aggravating factor in the case and should be taken into account when determining fines.
"In determining the appropriate civil penalties for the violations ... take into account the Defendant's excessive history of similar violations and the importance of assessing civil penalties substantial enough to serve as a deterrent."
In a consent decree approved by the Attorney General on May 25, 2012 Steven McGee and McGee Properties agreed to pay $22,000 in penalties and remedy the violations committed in the complaint.
The $22,000 is part of $98,370 in fines leveled against McGee by DEP since 1998. DEP also leveled $63,165 in enforcement actions where McGee was not the only party, including $50,000 for violations at the Oxford Fairgrounds.
The most recent fine is not the largest given to McGee. In 2007 DEP fined Steve McGee Construction, McGee On Road Equipment and McGee himself more than $25,000 for mining, solid waste and air violations in Augusta, Monmouth and West Gardiner.
In 2004, McGee and Steve McGee Construction were fined more than $18,000 for land and air violations in Augusta.
McGee Construction was contacted but did not return phone calls by press time.