Pollution Lawsuit Dropped

Group drops pollution lawsuit against Valley dairy
by David Lester

Yakima Herald-Republic :

YAKIMA, Wash. A Yakima Valley environmental group has agreed to dismiss a pollution case it filed against a Lower Valley dairy.

Community Association for Restoration of the Environment, a Granger-based group, said Wednesday the dismissal results from concern about the accuracy of some of the evidence the lawsuit was based on.

CARE cannot refile the case against DeRuyter Brothers Dairy of Outlook under an agreement to end the case, said Helen Reddout, president of the group.

A motion to dismiss was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Yakima.

An attorney for the dairy, which has 6,000 cows on about 100 acres, said the dismissal is vindication for the dairy.

John Nelson said his client is a committed steward of its land.

"DeRuyter Brothers is widely regarded as one of the most environmentally responsible dairies in the state. They have made very expensive upgrades and changed from an open lot to free stalls because it is so much better for managing waste and preventing pollution," he said.

CARE filed suit in April 2008, alleging the dairy is polluting the air with methanol, a potentially hazardous airborne emission from decomposing manure and silage.

DeRuyter contended no scientific basis exists to support the group's claims.

Reddout said equipment used to collect air samples around the dairy was not properly calibrated.

"We were honest enough to admit the test results are defective," she said.

Without funds to pursue the case further, Reddout said the group opted to seek a dismissal.

Nelson said issuance of Wednesday's news release was one condition to the dairy not seeking recovery of legal costs and fees from CARE.

Reddout said the group wants to obtain additional financial support and intends to pursue its pollution claims against other dairies in the Yakima Valley.

"There is a tremendous air pollution problem in the Valley," she said. "We will be searching and trying to bring out the facts."