J.R. Simplot Co. will pay a $5,000 fine and pave a road to settle allegations by the Washington Department of Ecology that dry manure and dust blew off its beef cattle feedlot in Walla Walla County in 2015.
The Idaho-based company agreed to spend at least $30,000 to put asphalt on a road to keep trucks from kicking up dust at its feedlot north of Wallula, according to the settlement agreement. The unpaved road is inside the feedlot.
Ecology originally fined Simplot $50,000. The company denied any violations, but agreed to the reduced penalty to avoid spending more money and time on litigation, the settlement states.
“We’re happy to reach this resolution,” Simplot spokesman Josh Jordan said Friday. “The safety of the community where we work is extremely important to us, so if there are concerns, we want to address that. The road should help significantly.”
State law requires feedlots to take “reasonable precautions” to keep dust and emissions from blowing onto neighbors. Ecology alleged the feedlot didn’t meet that standard between April 1 and June 20, 2015.
Simplot didn’t dispute that dust escaped, but did argue that it took appropriate preventive measures.
The company appealed the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board. The board dismissed the case April 3 at the request of Ecology and Simplot.
The feedlot has an 80,000-head capacity. Simplot submitted a new dust-control plan to Ecology in March.