$118 Million Lawsuit Filed over Hood Canal Gravel Mine

Last week, lawyers for Grump Ventures, LLC filed a $118 Million lawsuit against Mason County. The suit, filed Feb. 24, 2021 in the United States District Court, Western District of Washington, centers around Grump Ventures’ gravel mining operation on the North Shore of Hood Canal and the County’s 2020 decision to rescind a 2017 SM-6 form that allowed the mining operation to expand to Designated Forest Land in a mostly residential area.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court to “review and reverse” the County’s decision; determine the County’s decision-making was “illegal, arbitrary and capricious”; and award damages for “injuries it has sustained through the County’s actions.”

In June 2017, Mason County issued Grump Ventures a Form SM-6 that exempts the mine from the requirements of zoning ordinances. In late January 2020, the County rescinded the SM-6 after meetings with members of the Hood Canal Gravel Mining Opposition Association. Grump’s suit says the company was not informed of those meetings prior to the County rescinding the SM-6.

Grump Ventures appealed to the Mason County Hearings Examiner who upheld the decision to rescind the Form SM-6.

Last week’s lawsuit alleges the Hearings Examiner’s decision was “an erroneous interpretation of the law” that was “not supported by evidence” and “violates Grump Ventures’ constitutional rights.” The suit seeks damages in an amount “in excess of $118,726,200.00 lost in the current retail value of the total mineable material on the Property (not inclusive of retail value), to be further established at trial.”

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