Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Pope Resources, LP v. Washington State Department of Natural Resources

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20006
Nos. 47861-7-II, (Wash. Ct. App., 12/28/2016)

A Washington State appellate court held that the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can be held liable as an "owner or operator" under the state Model Toxic Control Act (MTCA) at the Port Gamble Bay and Mill site. The Department of Ecology determined that activities at the site between 1853 and 1995 resulted in the release of hazardous substances, and listed a logging company and DNR as potentially liable persons. The logging company took remedial actions and sought contribution from DNR. DNR claimed that it could not be an "owner" or "operator" under the MTCA and a lower court granted summary judgment on that basis. The appellate court disagreed, stating that under the MTCA, a person with any ownership interest can be liable, and DNR had statutory authority to manage and lease the lands at the site. The lower court's grant of summary judgment was reversed.