A manager with the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Solid Waste Management Program confirmed Thursday that Abston Henricksen Land and Timber Company has pulled out from their agreement with a Lewis County biosolids applicator to spread biosolids on their farmland off 128th Avenue in Yelm.
Peter Lyon, the manager, said he received an email from President of Abston Henricksen Jason Abston on Sunday that said they would like to pull out from their agreement. Abston gave no reason for rescinding their letter of agreement, which now puts Fire Mountain Farm’s permitting application in limbo, Lyon said.
“From ecology’s standpoint, it’s no longer a complete application and so we’ll stop working on it,” Lyon said.
Jason Abston could not be reached Thursday for comment.
Lyon said Fire Mountain Farm’s application will still be on file and that Abston could change his mind and resubmit a letter of agreement, which would continue the process.
Ecology was hoping to have a decision made on Fire Mountain Farm’s application by the end of summer. Lyon said Ecology also had a government-to-government consultation scheduled in July with officials of the Nisqually Indian Tribe, who have raised skepticism over the proximity of the proposed site to the Nisqually River.
“The question posed to me was: Does this mean that there are going to be no biosolids applied in Yelm? And this doesn’t mean that at all,” Lyon said.
Opposition to the practice of applying biosolids has been spearheaded by Preserve the Commons, a group of community members who believe the sludge-treated fertilizer will have serious repercussions for environmental and human health.
This story will be updated with more information.