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Two associated hemp drying companies and their chief executive have each been fined nearly $200,000 by state environmental regulators in Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued fines of $198,786 to Columbia Hemp Trading Company and $196,288 each to related company Columbia 410 and CEO Jacob Crabtree. The firms were operating out of the same facility in Molalla, about 30 miles south of Portland.
The combined amounts add up to one of the largest penalties issued by the agency, according to the Portland Business Journal.
Oregon’s environmental regulators say the companies operated without a required air-contaminant permit, causing Molalla residents to complain of “noxious odors” coming from the facility.
The agency said the facility’s gas-fired dryers emitted nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide at rates of more than 10 tons per year, triggering the need for a discharge permit.
Crabtree disputes that claim and said prior issues with the city prevented him from getting a land-use compatibility statement, which is required to apply for a discharge permit.
He is fighting the penalties and has offered a settlement with the city that includes $500,000 in site improvements.