Department of Agriculture response

Below is a response from the Washington State Department of Agriculture to our investigative story looking into the Fuel Only lab.

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"WSDA takes very seriously our mission to protect consumers from substandard diesel fuel. When WSDA inspectors visit gas stations, they continue to conduct field testing for excess water and particulates in diesel, the primary causes of engine damage. Complaints to the Weights and Measures program on substandard fuel in the marketplace have declined by more than 80 percent during 2010.

"We strive to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. When we receive any information about the misuse of public funds, we investigate it thoroughly. During our investigations, we have the obligation to proceed carefully to ensure that the complaint is factual. If we damage the reputation of a legitimate business, the taxpayers could be subject to a costly legal judgment.

"Over the course of the FuelOnly investigation, our Weights and Measures Program Manager used the appropriate tools to respond to the accusations against the firm. His investigation uncovered hard evidence that the lab may be falsifying test results and WSDA immediately suspended the lab's work under the state contract.

"The Washington State Patrol has launched an investigation that could lead to criminal charges. WSDA is currently working with the Attorney General's Office to recover all funds that may have been spent on improper or incomplete diesel fuel testing.

"Moving forward, WSDA is reviewing our contracting processes to ensure that the public can continue to have faith in the fuel testing conducted by outside laboratories. I am also looking into our policies to assure that WSDA investigations are conducted accurately and in a timely fashion."

-- Dan Newhouse, Director
Washington State Department of Agriculture