Commissioner Franz statement in response to Cooke Aquaculture court ruling
April 13, 2018
Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz issued the following statement after a Superior Court judge denied Cooke Aquaculture’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction:
“Today’s decision is a win for the people and waters of Washington. When I terminated Cooke’s lease, I did so based on clear evidence that the company failed to properly clean and maintain its facility, in violation of its lease.
Once again, I encourage Cooke to drop this baseless lawsuit and work with us to safely and quickly wind-up its operations and vacate the site. We will continue to defend our right to responsibly manage and protect our public lands. And, as we did today, we fully expect to prevail.”
In February, the Department of Natural Resources terminated Cooke’s lease at Cypress Island after an investigation revealed that, due to improper cleaning and neglect, the company allowed 110 tons of mussels and marine organisms to accumulate on the nets of the pen resulting in the collapse that occurred in August of last year.
Pending trial, Cooke was seeking a court order to override DNR’s refusal to allow the company to restock its Cypress Island facility with Atlantic salmon. Today, the Honorable John Skinder of Thurston County Superior Court, ruling from the bench, denied Cooke’s motion. As a result, DNR will not be required to allow Cooke to restock the site.