Washington Department of Ecology today announced a $90,000 fine against Richard Leone, a landowner who hired a contractor last November to illegally drain, clear and fill two protected wetlands. His intention reportedly was to expand a planned housing project at 17320 82nd Ave. E., Puyallup.

“Mr. Leone documented the wetlands in a report submitted to Pierce County, so he was fully aware of their locations and took specific, targeted steps to destroy them,” says Perry Lund, section manager for Ecology’s Shorelands and Environmental Assistance program.

Despite multiple notifications, warnings, and orders issued to the landowner from local, state, and federal agencies, Leone failed to comply with their requirements, leading to Ecology’s civil penalty for the wetlands’ willful destruction.

Pierce County has also taken action against the landowner. In addition to issuing two civil penalties of $1,000 and $4,000, the county revoked the preliminary plat that allowed the new 48-lot development, so Leone will be unable to develop any portion of the property at this time.

Leone has 30 days to pay the penalty or appeal it to the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board.