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Attorney for Smelter Opponents Says There are Problems with Land Sale


An attorney representing those opposed to a proposed Newport silica smelter says he has good reason to believe the company made a mistake when it purchased property to construct the plant.

Boise attorney Norm Semanko says there is a major problem with a land purchase in Newport made by Hi Test Sand.

Hi Test has already purchased land for the project from the Pend Oreille County Public Utility District.

But Semanko says legally, the Canadian-based company should not have been able to arrange that purchase.

At a public presentation this week, Semanko listed the procedures the company undertook months ago, before it was registered as a legal corporation in the U.S.

“The letter of intent, transmitted money, the EDC contracts, they were not registered to do business in the State of Washington. A business cannot do business till they register with the secretary of State,” Semanko said.

Semanko says he advised the company, the county commissioners and the PUD to closely examine the documents related to the sale of the property this week, and advised them to back out of the sale.

He says the Citizens Against Newport Smelter group is not yet in a position to challenge the proposal until actual permit applications for the smelter are filed by the Canadian company.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.