PORT GAMBLE — Breaking their weeks-long impasse, the Washington Department of Ecology and Pope Resources have agreed on a $17-million cleanup plan for Port Gamble Bay.
The agreement, to be spelled out in a legally binding consent decree, ensures that Ecology will provide $2 million toward the purchase and protection of 83 acres of tidelands and 470 acres of uplands along the western shoreline of Port Gamble Bay.
The agreement will allow Pope Resources to keep two docks at the south end of the former Pope & Talbot sawmill site until 2015. The company had been seeking to keep the docks in place until a new one at the north end of the property could be approved.
No agreement was reached for settling natural resource damage claims to be paid by Pope Resources. That raises questions about whether plans can move forward to use Ecology funds to purchase additional property on the mill site, where an educational and research center had been proposed.