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Solar farms in Alabama, Idaho, Illinois ordered to pay total of $1.3 million for environmental violations

Four companies that developed solar energy facilities in Alabama, Idaho and Illinois have agreed to pay a total of $1.3 million for violating construction permits and rules for handling groundwater, authorities said Monday.

A statement by the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency said the companies used a common construction contractor. In each case, the government alleged companies failed to take steps to control runoff water. In Alabama and Idaho, sediment from construction sites got into nearby waterways, the government said.

The cases involved AL Solar A LLC, which built a solar farm near LaFayette, Alabama; American Falls Solar LLC, which owned a site near American Falls, Idaho; Prairie State Solar LLC, owner of a development in Perry County, Illinois; and Big River Solar LLC, which had a development in White County, Illinois, according to the statement.

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The solar farm owners are all subsidiaries of large international companies, the government said.

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AL Solar will pay $500,000 in civil penalties to state and federal regulators, it said, and American Falls will pay a civil penalty of $416,500 to the federal government. The Illinois sites remain under construction, and officials there have to follow the rules for the remainder of the work.

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