The Port of Olympia commission has agreed to reimburse the city of Olympia for cleanup costs associated with an 11-day fracking protest that halted train traffic through downtown in November.
But the $3,400 payment from the port represents a fraction of the money requested by Olympia City Manager Steve Hall, who appeared before the commission last month and asked for $23,885 to cover the city’s overtime and cleanup costs. The total cost to the city was $46,140 in staff time, overtime and cleanup, he said.
Commissioners debated whether to reimburse the city.
Port Commissioner Bill McGregor said last month the port should not be held responsible for illegal behavior on the part of protesters. Commissioner Joe Downing suggested reimbursing the city a few thousand dollars for cleanup but not overtime, saying the port was entitled to police protection.
Commissioner E.J. Zita was in favor of reimbursing the city for the amount requested.
“I will continue to encourage the port to quit this cargo, because its costs to communities and the environment far outweigh any economic benefits,” she said in an email Thursday.
The commission finally agreed last week to cut a check to the city for $3,400.
Port spokeswoman Jennie Foglia-Jones said Thursday the payment ends the matter for the port.
The port handles a cargo called ceramic proppants, which is used in the oil extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Protesters who camped on the railroad tracks in November oppose the port handling the materials because of the environmental impacts of fracking and the support of fossil fuel use.