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FRDU CALL-TO-ACTION to Protect Clark County from Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad (PVJR) and Eric Temple: Write a Letter to Ecology Opposing PVJR’s Stormwater Permit Application for Barberton (DUE JUNE 22ND)

June 18, 2024 in Accountability, Comprehensive Plan & Growth Management Act, Farmland & Forests, Mining, Railroad, Responsible Development, Rivers, Lakes & Aquifers

Chelatchie Prairie Railroad from Clark County government

What’s the issue? PVJR is seeking a Construction Stormwater NPDES and State Waste Discharge General Permit for industrial construction activities disturbing 25.79 acres of soil to be discharged into Curtin Creek in Barberton.

What’s the action? Submit public comment to the Washington State Department of Ecology. Ecology reviews public comments and considers whether discharges from this project would cause a measurable change in receiving water quality, and, if so, whether the project is necessary and in the overriding public interest according to Tier II anti-degradation requirements under WAC 173-201A-320.

Why deny this permit? Mr. Temple of PVJR has shown a wanton disregard for following guidelines and regulations already in place to protect the Barberton site and Curtin Creek. He has started prep work without proper protection of the Curtin Creek watershed, moving large amounts of dirt and using chip glass as fill. He has installed a culvert in the northeast side of the Barberton property that has resulted in dirty water contaminating Curtin Creek and the adjoining wetlands.

In 2009, the Clark County Clean Water Program created the Curtin Creek Enhancement Project and Curtin Creek Wetlands Nature Area (see and at a cost of almost 4 million dollars.  

The project is not necessary and it is not in the overriding public interest to allow any measurable change in the water quality; to the contrary, allowing the permit would be detrimental to the public interest given the importance of the Curtin Creek Enhancement Project and Curtin Creek Wetlands Nature area.

PVJR/Temple has been admonished by multiple federal state and local governmental entities on multiple occasions over the course of the past year for their actions. Multiple agencies have issued multiple directives to PVJR/Temple to not undertake, as well as cease and desist any operations until proper permitting has been secured.  

On two separate occasions, DOE directed PVJR/Temple to engage in restoration on the construction sites designed to return the land to its prior status, but has failed to comply with those directives and admonitions. On at least two occasions, he informed DOE that he would voluntarily comply with a directive to create and complete a restoration plan. Neither time did he follow through with his promise of “voluntary” compliance. On one occasion, he submitted an incomplete application in November 2023 but, when informed it was incomplete, took no further action to complete the application–thus forcing the DOE to issue the Administrative Order in March 2024. Direct appeals by the Clark County Council and County Manager for work stoppage have also gone unheeded and unenforced.

Furthermore, PVJR/Temple’s unauthorized and unpermitted actions at the Chelatchie Creek site resulted in fish kill, disrupted and diverted creek flow, and badly muddied waters that cannot support the local fish population. PVJR/Temple has refused to acknowledge the damage he caused at the site, nor has he done any reparation work to restore Chelatchie Creek to its former pristine condition.

If DOE grants PVJR/Temple a permit at the Barberton site, he will likely fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the permit and that will disrupt the creek and the watershed as he has even more than the damage he has caused already at both Curtin Creek and Chelatchie Creek. The history with the County and the state and federal agencies reflects that he shuns rules and, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, he falsely claims his actions not only have not caused damage but have enhanced the areas. He has failed to prove that he can be a good steward of the Barberton land nor the waters of Curtin Creek, and there is no reason to believe that will ever change, with or without a permit.. 

Craft your public comment: Send an email with the subject line “ATTN: Water Quality Program regarding PVJR/Temple Permit” to by June 22nd. You can use details above, including additional points below. Please avoid copy/pasting so each public comment is unique.

Additional points:

PVJR has cleared land of trees, graded, imported thousands of tons of fill and raised the elevation of his property without any permits.

The newly created berm is made up of cut down trees, stacked up with dirt and unknown materials onto the layered trees, all done without any permits.

PVJR has violated the cease and desist orders brought by multiple agencies. In its February 14, 2024 letter, the EPA noted that the EPA “is aware that PVJR and/or others acting on its behalf or at its direction may be continuing work at one or both of the sites subject to this action.”  Thus even in the face of the Cease and Desist Order issued on December 18, 2023, PVJR/Temple continued to engage in unpermitted construction work in violation of the C&D order.

The water runoff via the Curtin Creek wetlands from the PVJR land in Barberton is a hazard to our watershed and constitutes a measurable negative change by lowering the water quality with increased turbidity.

The agencies should require that, at a minimum, PVJR/Temple apply for, and secure, a hydraulic permit (HPA) from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in order to initiate any restoration project. 

PVJR/Temple has proven itself unable to follow law, protect the environment, and care for the welfare of the citizens of Washington state. PVJR/Temple firmly believes that they, unlike every other citizen of this county, do not have to comply with our federal, state, and local environmental laws and frequently has publicly asserted that claim. 

 At a minimum any consideration of this permit must be stayed until such time that all investigations and lawsuits are resolved and PVJR and its owner are held accountable to those findings and judgments as appropriate to any such egregious action, including a full restoration of lands, water, and fish habitat thus far destroyed and/or degraded.

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