Washington Potato Company Farmer in Warden Says $ 304,000 DOE Fine “Illegal” | Columbia Basin



PASCO – Frank Tiegs, owner of Frank Tiegs LLC, is appealing a fine of $ 304,000 from the Department of Ecology which he now considers “illegal”.

Tiegs is affiliated with the Washington Potato Company operations in Pasco and Warden.

According to Capital Press, the six-figure fine was imposed on Tiegs in October for allegedly irrigating 250 acres of peas and sweet corn in the summer of 2021 without a permit.

The Tri-City Herald reports that the Ecology Department fined Tiegs for irrigating land in the McNary Pool of the Snake River without prior approval, but the company is said to have sufficient unused water rights to cover the water she consumed, according to the call.

The Tri-City Herald says that at the same time, the Department of Ecology retroactively approved the use of water by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources on neighboring farmland and cleared the paperwork afterwards. The Herald hinted at the reported fact that water was available for use in both cases, but Tiegs was apparently not allowed to complete paperwork after irrigation began on plot 250 in question.

Tiegs told the Tri-City Herald he assumed the water use was legal or that he would not have started irrigating the property.

According to this appeal, Tiegs had not suffered a water fine before.

The appeal contends that environmental officials did not initially attempt to comply voluntarily by offering information and technical assistance in writing, as required by state law.

Based on the Tri-City Herald article, the appeal alleges that there was no immediate prejudice to other water rights or public resources, such as water for wildlife and fish. .

In an October press release, the Ecology Department said the company’s illegal use of water “threatened the flows of the Columbia and Snake Rivers – critical rivers for salmon and rainbow trout. in sky. It was one of the driest and warmest on record for Washington, with stream flows and fish passage already compromised. “

Tiegs reportedly said his company had the rights to at least 400 acres of water it was not using and that the unused water was flowing into the Columbia River.

The Tri-City Herald reports that the Ecology Department declined to comment on the call.

Warden is home to a large-scale processing operation of the Washington Potato Company. The factory was damaged by fire earlier this year.


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