Department of Ecology News Release - June 18, 2008
BELLEVUE – A state hearing board’s unanimous ruling last week upheld every aspect of a 2007 Department of Ecology (Ecology) penalty against Pacific Topsoils Inc. for illegally covering a wetland on Smith Island, near Everett.
Ecology fined the company $88,000 and ordered the firm to remove the 12-acre, 10-foot-high fill and to restore the land to its original condition. Pacific Topsoils appealed the fine and order to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.
Snohomish County also issued an order – affirmed by a county hearing examiner on appeal – to remove the illegal fill.
Gordon White, who manages Ecology’s shorelands and environmental assistance program, said:
“We were disappointed when Pacific Topsoils chose to litigate rather than comply with Ecology and county ordinances. The Board found that the company knew it was destroying wetlands, knew this was against the law, and had knowledge about the extent and quality of these wetlands.
“Ecology's costs alone in this case are at least $100,000. The staff time consumed also meant that other environmental protection actions have been left to wait.
“Protecting wetlands is central to the state’s goal of restoring Puget Sound by 2020 and protecting it. Wetlands keep water clean, provide habitat, and help reduce flooding. Ecology staff met their obligation to the citizens and brought a strong and convincing case.”
News release on original penalty: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2007news/2007-053.html
Gordon White, manager, shorelands and environmental assistance program, 360-407-6977
Larry Altose, media relations, 425-649-7009; pager 206-663-1785
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