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Port of Longview settles with Riverkeeper for $2M in water violations suit

By Sydney Brown, The Daily News
Published: August 12, 2022, 7:38am

LONGVIEW — The Port of Longview on Wednesday settled a years-long lawsuit with Columbia Riverkeeper, which alleged the port had violated one of its permits and broader environmental regulations.

The port denied wrongdoing but agreed to pay $2 million toward stormwater improvements and river projects benefiting the Columbia River basin, according to a news release from the port.

“The port has had a very good track record in ensuring compliance with its permits and all environmental laws and has expended more than $15 million over the past six years on environmental-focused projects and programs,” said Port President Allan Erickson.

“Our port commission has always taken environmental stewardship seriously and we hope with this settlement we can continue to move forward to improve our facilities, consistent with our plans, to protect valuable natural resources, including the Columbia River.”

The Port of Longview also agreed to update the port’s stormwater pollution prevention plan, improve Berth 5’s dry bulk loading facility and add stormwater treatment solutions.

The settlement will need to undergo a federal review before it goes into effect.

Columbia Riverkeeper said in a news release the port agreed to pay at least $650,000 toward the Rose Foundation, which focuses on river restoration projects.

“This massive industrial port has a responsibility to the public to be good stewards of the environment,” said Simone Anter, staff attorney at Riverkeeper. “People rely on the Columbia for clean water, strong salmon runs, and so much more. If public ports aren’t following the rules, how can we expect other industries to do the right thing?”

The pending settlement comes after one of the port’s terminals, Export Grain Terminal, settled with Riverkeeper in June for more than $700,000 for river projects over similar alleged water violations.

Riverkeeper in recent years has filed several lawsuits against other ports along the Columbia River, with challenges against the Port of Vancouver and a recently settled lawsuit with Weyerhaeuser.

Sydney Brown is a news reporter for The Daily News covering education and environmental issues in Cowlitz County.