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Dust From Golf Project Prompts Fine

Blowing dust from a golf course construction site has drawn a $51,000 fine.

The Benton County Clean Air Authority assessed the fine Monday against contractor Valley Crest Landscape, Inc., subcontractor Contractors Equipment Maintenance and the city of Richland.

It is the second time the builders of the golf course have been fined for air quality violations. The air authority announced a $31,000 fine Aug. 12.

The air quality agency has received 33 complaints about blowing dust since the golf course construction began this spring. The Columbia Point golf course is scheduled to be completed Sept. 27 but is behind schedule.

Valley Crest plans to appeal both of the fines, project manager Susan Simpkinson said.

City officials and contractors are upset with the air quality agency’s fines. They say regulators are unfairly trying to make an example out of the project.

“If they aren’t enforcing air quality standards uniformly, they don’t have an ice cube’s chance in hell” of collecting the fines, said Pete Squires, city project manager for the Columbia Point development. “They have absolutely no conception of how a golf course is built.”