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Ecology: Lemire ruling confirms authority

Capital Press

Posted 8/18/2013

The Washington State Supreme Court’s 8-1 ruling against a Dayton, Wash., rancher reaffirms the Washington Department of Ecology’s authority to take action to prevent pollution to waters of the state, the department spokesperson says.

“It’s an affirmation of an authority we already thought we had,” said Kelly Susewind, water quality program manager. “It really means no change in the way we do business. We will continue to work with landowners and producers, preferably in a collaborative manner.”

Susewind said the order to Lemire to protect nearby Pataha Creek from his cattle will be expected to be complied with, but is now out of date, since it was issued in 2009.

“We stand ready to work with Mr. Lemire and figure out how we can help him comply in a way that works for both of us,” he said.

Susewind said the department will reach out to a farmer if it has concerns with an operation and offer technical assistance.

“If you’ve heard from us, please work with us,” he said. “We think we can have clean water and a healthy agricultural industry co-exist.”

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