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March 22, 2005

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

Private Landowner to Pay $2 Million
for Damaging Palisades Interstate Park

(05/23)TRENTON - Settling violations stemming from the destruction of public parkland, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) today announced that private landowner Andrew Krieger has agreed to pay $2 million. In 2002, Krieger bulldozed more than an acre of Palisades Interstate Park, Bergen County, which is owned by the State of New Jersey and leased to the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.

"This settlement reflects DEP's commitment to protect parkland for future generations of New Jersey residents to enjoy," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Krieger's expensive mistake should deter others from demonstrating similar disrespect for public property and the law."

"We will continue to work with DEP to address violations of our environmental laws and to ensure that New Jersey receives just compensation from those who damage our natural resources," said Attorney General Peter C. Harvey.

In February 2002, Andrew Krieger proposed to DEP a land exchange that would have enabled him to develop the parkland that he subsequently bulldozed. DEP advised Krieger on the land trade process, which Krieger opted not to pursue. In the following three months, Krieger and his employees cleared more than one acre of parkland and illegally stored construction materials on state and county property.

Krieger, who owned property adjacent to Palisades Interstate Park, destroyed trees and other vegetation, excavated approximately one mile of trails, destroyed an old stone wall and disturbed two small, intermittent streams located in the park.

DEP and PIPC sought compensatory and punitive damages from Krieger. Krieger has agreed to settle charges filed against him by paying $2 million and apologizing for damaging public parkland. Deputy Attorney General Robert A. Marshall handled the State's civil suit.

"In my 20 years of public land management I have never seen a case as severe as this, where an adjacent property owner took such a deliberate and willful action in damaging public park property," said PIPC Superintendent Jim Hall. "Time finally ran out for the tycoon tree terminator paying for his acts."




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Last Updated: March 23, 2005