County seeks contempt finding against DOC

Pierce County and the state Department of Corrections are headed back to court in connection with state construction activity on McNeil Island that the county asserts violates state environmental laws and a Superior Court preliminary injunction order issued last December.
Judge Thomas Felnagle ordered DOC to stop landing Special Commitment Center construction barges at the department’s boatyard area without first complying with state environmental laws.
The county has evidence demonstrating that construction barges landed at that site Feb. 5 through 8.
The county is convinced the barge-landing activity violates Judge Felnagle’s Dec. 7 order and has filed a motion seeking a ruling that the Department of Corrections is in contempt of court.
The county also is seeking monetary penalties of $2,000 for each day the violation occurred and $2,000 for each day the contempt of court continues.
The hearing is scheduled for this Friday before Judge Felnagle.
DOC’s actions are related to the county’s claim that the department violated environmental laws last year when it issued a Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance to transport construction materials to McNeil Island for the SCC construction project.
A coalition of Pierce County and the municipalities of Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place and Steilacoom filed a lawsuit last August alleging that DOC failed to adequately identify, study and mitigate the environmental impacts of the total SCC proposal.
Felnagle’s Dec. 7 order is to remain in place pending the outcome of the coalition’s lawsuit.
A hearing on the coalition’s legal challenge is scheduled April 15.