Pacific International Terminals, the SSA Marine subsidiary pursuing the Gateway Pacific coal export terminal in Whatcom County, has agreed to pay $1.65 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from the company's unauthorized land-clearing work on the property in 2011.
RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, a Bellingham environmental organization in the forefront of opposition to the coal terminal, filed the lawsuit a few months after the excavation became public.
In a press release, SSA Marine Vice President Bob Watters continued to characterize the matter as a "nuisance lawsuit," but he said the company preferred a settlement to the costs of protracted litigation.
Company officials admitted that they made a mistake in failing to get proper permits for clearing roadways to be used geotechnical testing equipment on their property at the end of Gulf Road.
Whatcom County officials had ordered them to repair the damage and pay a $4,400 in penalties.
The press release says the company agreed to pay $850,000 that will be used for Puget Sound environmental restoration projects, and another $800,000 to cover RE Sources' legal costs.