SUNNYSIDE — An alternate member of an advisory group trying to clean up groundwater pollution in the Lower Yakima Valley has resigned in protest of what he suspects is a conflict of interest by another member.
Don Young, an alternate representative of the Yakima County Farm Bureau, withdrew Monday from the advisory committee of the Lower Yakima Valley Ground Water Management Area, or GWMA. He submitted his resignation in a letter to Yakima County Commissioner Rand Elliott, the chairman of the group.
Young, a retired beef rancher and farmer, objected to fellow committee member Helen Reddout being on the advisory group. Reddout, a cherry grower, is president of Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment, which last month issued a notice of an intent to sue five Yakima Valley dairies in federal court for allegedly allowing manure to pollute groundwater.
Other members had asked Reddout to resign but she declined to step away from the committee, formed by the state Department of Ecology to develop a long-range plan to clean up well water contaminated by nitrates in the Lower Valley.
Young is the Farm Bureau’s alternate representative on the board behind Steve George.
Young argued that the committee is stacked against dairy owners because it includes too many representatives of environmental organizations and government regulatory agencies.
He originally applied as a unaffiliated member of the public but was turned down, he said.