Former Renton man pleads not guilty to charges of environmental crimes

Today in King County Superior Court, a former Renton man pleaded not guilty to charges by the Attorney General’s Office that he illegally abandoned roughly 40 barrels of hazardous waste on property from which he was evicted in 2012.

The state charged Rory Westmoreland with one count of Violating the Hazardous Waste Management Act and another count of Unlawful Dumping of Solid Waste without a permit. The first charge is a class C felony and the second is a gross misdemeanor.

According to the state’s court filings, King County reported the problem to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Criminal Investigations Division in March 2013.

As part of its investigation, the EPA learned King County also has three enforcement cases dating back to 2003 against Westmoreland for violations ranging from construction without permits to accumulation of assorted rubbish, salvage and debris on the property.

Assistant Attorney General Josh Choate is prosecuting the case as authorized by the King County Prosecutor’s Office. King County Superior Court Judge Patrick Oishi scheduled Westmoreland’s next court appearance for 1 p.m. on May 22.

Ferguson has now filed five environmental crimes cases.

“The Attorney General’s Office takes environmental crimes very seriously,” Ferguson said. “Working together with the EPA, state and county environmental agencies and county prosecutors, we are cracking down on those who harm our environment and threaten the public’s health and safety.”

The state’s declaration for determination of probable cause consists of allegations that have not yet been proven in a court of law.  The state of Washington has the burden to prove any and all of its allegations in court.

-from a press release

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