PUYALLUP, Wash. (AP) — A Pierce County landowner has been fined $90,000 after he destroyed forested wetlands that could take 50 years to restore.
The Washington state Department of Ecology says Richard Leone (Lee-O-nee) of Gig Harbor hired a contractor in 2016 to illegally drain, clear and fill two protected wetlands in order to expand a housing development.
Ecology manager Perry Lund said Wednesday that wetlands are critical to the overall health of Washington’s watersheds. He says Leone documented the wetlands in a report submitted to Pierce County, so he was fully aware of their locations and took specific steps to destroy them.
Leone didn’t return a message seeking comment. He has 30 days to pay the penalty or appeal the fine.
The Ecology order requires Leone to pay for the wetlands restoration.