The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced Aug. 22 that Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC will pay a civil penalty of $1.25 million to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act.
The first joint meeting of the boards of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations and Harness Tracks of America was considered a success, but whether the two organizations continue to meet jointly on a regular basis remains to be seen.
The current meet at Portland Meadows in Oregon will end Feb. 10--36 days before its scheduled conclusion--in light of an ongoing problem with surface-water removal at the racetrack.
Environmentalists notified Portland Meadows on Nov. 27 that they intend to sue the racetrack for illegally discharging manure into the Columbia Slough. An official with Magna Entertainment, which owns the Oregon racetrack's operating rights, called the lawsuit unfair and said the company has been working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency since assuming control in May.
Portland Meadows will not open Sept. 1 as planned because the Environmental Protection Agency has rejected a plan to keep contaminated storm water from leaving the racetrack property. Magna Entertainment was notified Tuesday that the plan was rejected. The environmental problems could accelerate the company's plans to build a new racetrack in the area.
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