Two Whatcom County firms fined more than $1K, ecology officials say

The state Department of Ecology announced it issued $218,238 in fines of more than $1,000 to Washington companies between April and June 2012, including fines to two firms in Whatcom County.

Penalties are issued in cases where non-compliance continues after the ecology department has provided technical assistance or warnings, or for particularly serious violations, according to the department.

Nielsen Brothers Inc. of Acme, a logging company, was fined $6,500 on May 4, after a March 29, 2011, incident where a driver crashed a pickup truck on Highway 9 at Strand Road, spilling 120 gallons of diesel fuel from a tank in the truck bed into a roadside ditch. A response team was able to prevent the oil from reaching the South Fork Nooksack River.

Icy Strait Seafoods of Bellingham was fined $1,500 on June 27, after a Sept. 22, 2011, incident where a fishing boat docked at Squalicum Marina spilled 100 gallons of hydraulic oil into Squalicum Harbor when a pump housing cracked.

Penalties may already be fully satisfied or in the process of an appeal or settlement discussions, according to state officials. The money owed from penalties may be reduced from the issued amount due to a ruling by the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board or a negotiated settlement.

The final penalty amount owed and collected is deposited in special accounts that pay for environmental restoration and enhancement projects, research and development, permitting and regulatory programs and education and assistance, according to the department.

More information is on the ecology department’s website.

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