TEMPERS FLARE OVER BURNING GRASS FARMERS DETAIN INSPECTORS, ACTIVISTS IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS Columbia Basin bluegrass growers angry about the state's burning phase-out surrounded and detained two state inspectors from Spokane near Basin City on Monday. The Washington Department of Ecology employees were looking into recent complaints that Basin growers may have illegally burned hundreds of acres of bluegrass fields this summer. It's the second confrontation in the Basin in the last few days as tensions run high over field burning. Last Friday, a trip to Published on August 11, 1998
Personal Property Rights Ecology employees on private property Some new regulations passed WSDA director changed policy to seek permission to enter property during inspections and investigations, even though we had authority in the regulations.
(1)For purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter the director may enter upon any public or private premises at reasonable times, in order: (a)To have access for the purpose of inspecting any equipment subject to this chapter and such premises on which such equipment is kept or stored; (b) To inspect lands actually or reported to be exposed to pesticides; (c) To inspect storage or disposal areas; (d) To inspect or investigate complaints of injury to humans or land; or (e) To sample pesticides being applied or to be applied. (2) Should the director be denied access to any land where such access was sought for the purposes set forth in this chapter, the director may apply to any court of competent jurisdiction for a search warrant authorizing access to such land for said purposes. The court may upon such application, issue the search warrant for the purposes requested. (3) It shall be the duty of each prosecuting attorney to whom any violation of this chapter is reported, to cause appropriate proceedings to be instituted and prosecuted in a court of competent jurisdiction without delay. (4) The director may bring an action to enjoin the violation or threatened violation of any provision of this chapter or any rule made pursuant to this chapter in the superior court of the county in which such violation occurs or is about to occur. RCW 17.21.320 Access to public or private premises -- Search warrants -- Prosecuting attorney's duties injunctions.
Results A NOC was issued for applying a pesticide in a faulty, careless, and negligent manner; applying a pesticide endangering humans, their environment, or food; and applying a pesticide causing damage/injury to humans or desirable plants.
Neighbor Feud Involved the destruction of ornamental trees with values in excess of $50,000 Infractor identified, NOI, turned over to Seattle Police for criminal charges of trespass, malicious mischief Damaged party to seek value loss in civil courts
RatsBeGone Allegations - Company acting as un-licensed: commercial applicators structural pest inspection business pesticide dealer & selling worthless pesticide substances Warrant obtained to seize records for evidence of the above allegations.
RatsBeGone Results: NOC (3 persons x 70 counts each) NOI and Denial of licenses for 5-years Superior Court Injunction to impose jail and/or fine for re-offending.
A & C Insulation Allegations - Company acting as un-licensed: commercial applicators structural pest inspection business pesticide dealer & selling worthless pesticide substances Warrant to seize records
A & C Insulation Results: NOC Shut-down of business related to pesticides Referral to Dept. of Revenue for criminal charges for failure to pay the state sales taxes Action by L&I for failure to be licensed as a construction business.
Spray Drift Case Neighbor filed a complaint that application drifted across the highway and onto her & her property while she was gardening. Applicator consulted with his attorney as he had lawsuits pending with the WSDA. At the advice of his attorney he denied entry. A warrant was obtained to collect samples from the treated orchard.
Another Drift WSDA asked for permission to enter for the purpose of sampling but we were denied entry again. Another warrant was obtained.
Another Drift Results: NOI issued for $900 and 14 day suspension. Settlement/stipulation applicator agreed to pay $450 and 7 day suspension contingent upon complying with all of the pesticide laws and rules for a period of three years. If not he will be subject to the remaining civil penalty and license suspension in addition to any civil penalties and license suspensions assessed for the future violations.
Disgruntled Employee Case Employee let go after working for company for 20+ years. He alleged that he was told to bury some pesticides when cleaning out for a Euro-Gap Inspection. Warrant was obtained but manager granted access so it was not served.
Disgruntled Employee Case Results: WSDA issued NOI for $3,600 Ecology issued fine $3,900 Plus $600 for backhoe cost Total $8,100
WPS-No Probable Cause Case Observed airblast application to apples during strong winds-15.9 mph. Application drifting along state highway Observed signs of recent worker activity in areas being drifted upon. Denied entry as per “company policy” for any regulatory agency
WPS-No Probable Cause Case Results: Judge issued a warrant however struck the request for a WPS inspection based on probable cause Issued the initial warrant and noted evidence of many potential WPS violations Requested entry to conduct a WPS inspection…again, refused entry Second warrant was obtained for WPS inspection WSDA issued NOC’s to owner, licensed applicator, and operator
Concluding Points Make sure you have the authority spelled out in your regulations Get paperwork prepared ( application, declaration, warrant, and return of warrant) Always have law enforcement go with you Have at least 2 employees go to serve the warrant Tools Staple Gun Wooden Stakes Bolt Cutters