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APNewsBreak: Raese built golf club without permits

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm •  Published: October 8, 2012
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"The ponds and stuff, those are some of the big violations," Coleman said. Damming a waterway not only changes the quality of the water but has the potential to dry up downstream areas.

Reconstructing the damage is difficult, he added, because it occurred so long ago.

"It's like an autopsy," Coleman said, only with tools including historical maps and satellite imagery.

By law, Raese should have sought a permit to place dredge and fill material in waterways under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the same section mining companies use. As a quarry owner, Raese would be familiar with such permits.

There are two kinds of 404 permits, a nationwide or general permit typically used for projects that are smaller and have little environmental impact. Those permits are free, but analyzing the project and coming up with strategies to minimize harm typically takes 45 days, Coleman said.

An individual permit, which has more in-depth requirements and includes a 30-day public notice provision, would have cost $100 and taken about 120 days to obtain.

Raese hinted at the problems with Pikewood last week while calling again for abolition of the EPA, suggesting during a Shepherdstown debate that the agency and the corps are trying to punish him. He accused the EPA of "terrorizing business" and offered Pikewood — which he did not mention by name — as an example of valuable job creation.

"You know what happens to me?" he said in the debate. "Right now, the EPA and the Army Corps are my new partner because they're up there every day. Fines. Looking at me, for what? I don't know. I built it on 1,300 acres and they're looking at probably 20 feet by 30 feet.

"Can you imagine this, when you try to create something that's so beautiful and so pretty and has won so many awards?" he added. "My award is that I'm chastised by government."

Golf Digest rated Pikewood the best new private course of 2009, noting its membership "initiation fee" is $30,000.

According to Links magazine, Raese and Gwynne designed and built the course themselves rather than hire an architect.

"We wanted to feature the natural terrain and the rock formations on the property," Gwynne told the magazine. "After all, we are in the rock business. We wanted to make the most natural course we could."

Raese is also chairman of the board of West Virginia Radio Corp. and the MetroNews radio network, and vice president of the company that publishes The Dominion Post newspaper.

This is Raese's fourth Senate bid. He challenged Sen. Jay Rockefeller in 1984 and the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd in 2006. In a special election to fill Byrd's unexpired term after his death in 2010, Raese lost to Manchin by 10 percentage points.

Now Manchin and Raese are competing for a full term.

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Online:

Pikewood: http://www.pikewoodnational.com/