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Business in brief: Cowles Co. buying California stations

Spokane-based Cowles Co. is purchasing several California television stations for an undisclosed price.

The Cowles Co. has signed an agreement with Newport Television to buy television stations serving the Salinas/Monterey and Santa Maria/Santa Barbara markets.

Cowles Co. owns several television stations, including KHQ of Spokane, KNDO of Yakima, and KNDU of Richland, along with The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

The local company will acquire KION television, the CBS affiliate in Salinas/Monterey, which also carries the CW network on a secondary digital channel, KMUV-LP, a Telemundo affiliate; and a management agreement operating KCBA, the Fox affiliate in the market.

Cowles Co. will also acquire KCOY television, the CBS affiliate serving the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo market, and KKFX, the Fox affiliate in the market.

The stations are among a group of stations being sold by Clear Channel as part of a $1.2 billion deal with Newport, which is selling the stations to Cowles Co. in a concurrent transaction.

Cowles Co. is a privately held diversified media, forest products, insurance and real estate company.

“We are strong believers in localism and understand the important community role local broadcasting serves,” said Cowles Chairman Betsy Cowles, in a news release.

Kamiah, Idaho

Three Rivers will pay EPA fine

Three Rivers Timber Inc. has agreed to pay a $6,500 penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for not submitting a required air quality compliance certificate on time.

The document covered the 2006 calendar year. Three Rivers failed to submit the report to the EPA until Aug. 6, which violated the company’s operating permit under the Clean Air Act. The company has been penalized in the past for similar late reporting, according to federal officials. “We take reporting requirements in our permits very seriously,” said Steven Potokar, EPA’s Region 10 tribal air enforcement officer. “Facilities must submit their reports on time so we can track … compliance and protect local and regional air quality.”

Three Rivers is a privately held company which operates a sawmill within the Nez Perce Reservation. According to company officials, Three Rivers had prepared the compliance certification, but failed to submit it on time to EPA.