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Coal port developer settles lawsuit over illegal land clearing

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Coal port developer settles lawsuit over illegal land clearing

KGMI News Reporting
By Karen Taylor, Joe Teehan

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. – Pacific International Terminals or PIT, the developer that hopes to build the Gateway Pacific Terminal, will pay roughly $1.6 million to settle an environmental group’s complaint over non-permitted land clearing the company did at the site of the proposed terminal.

The lawsuit filed in 2011 accuses the company of violating part of the Clean Water Act by not responding to wetland disturbance in a timely manner.

The company, also known as SSA Marine, says technically it became an ‘unnecessary’ lawsuit, as they had already begun complying with orders from the Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Ecology to fix any damage to wetlands.

In their findings, the Army Corps of Engineers found the damage to be “minimal” and the violation “likely not intentional.”

Over half of the money will go exclusively toward Puget Sound environmental restoration projects.

The other $800,000 will cover the plaintiff’s legal fees.