Environmental Watchdog Files Lawsuit
by David Collins
On Monday, Columbia Riverkeeper filed a complaint in the Western District of Washington against North Pacific Paper Company, LLC (NORPAC) for the continued violations of their NPDES permit from discharging pollutants into the Columbia River Basin.
According to the complaint, in July 2019, NORPAC was issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit which "imposes terms and conditions, including numeric effluent limits on discharges of process wastewater, discharge benchmarks and adaptive management requirements for discharges of stormwater associated with industrial activities." The plaintiff claimed that NORPAC violated the terms of their permit by violating the effluent limitations. The permit requires NORPAC to take Level 1 Corrective Actions each time they exceed the allowed limits by not conducting them in a timely manner. Furthermore, they repeatedly failed to conduct Level 2 Corrective Actions, which are more intensive than the former.
The complaint detailed that NORPAC discharged hundreds of gallons of prohibited wastewater to the neighboring facility and has "failed to collect and analyze discharge samples and report the results to Ecology in compliance with the requirements of the Permit." The plaintiffs alleged that NORPAC failed to submit numerous monthly and quarterly reports to the state, and failed to submit an Ecology Order by November 1st, 2021. The defendants have supposedly "benefited economically as a consequence of its violations and its failure to implement improvements at the facility." Because of their actions, citizens of Washington and Oregon, as well as Riverkeeper members have had their enjoyment of the Columbia River "diminished by the polluted state of the receiving waters and by NORPAC's contributions to such a polluted state."
Columbia Riverkeeper is seeking declaratory relief, injunctive relief enjoining NORPAC from continuing to violate the law and to remediate the environmental harm they caused, civil penalties, attorney's fees and costs, and other relief.
The plaintiff is represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC.
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