DOUGLAS COUNTY, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee began his news conference in Olympia on Thursday by apologizing for gifting apples to towns in eastern Washington that later tested positive for apple maggot larvae.
Last week, Inslee visited Bridgeport, Malden and Omak, towns ravaged by recent wildfires. The apples he brought were grown at the governor’s mansion in Thurston County.
Thurston County is currently under an apple maggot quarantine, making it illegal to bring apples from there to Okanogan, Douglas or Whitman counties. A violation of the apple quarantine is subject to a “civil penalty not exceeding $5,000 per violation,” according to state law.
The apples delivered to residents of a retirement home in Omak tested positive for the larvae, Douglas County officials said.
“The other morning before I went to eastern Washington with (my wife) Trudi and I picked some apples off our tree at the Capitol residence to take as a gesture to the people to let them know in Bridgeport and Malden that they’re not alone,” Inslee said. “And obviously we regret that mistake and we hope people’s awareness of this situation is raised by this.”
Douglas County officials revealed the positive maggot larvae test in a Facebook post on Wednesday, and asked for residents in the towns Inslee visited to help locate other apples he gifted.
“We are desperately seeking the help of all Bridgeport and Douglas County residents or anyone who may have any information to help us locate the apples that were brought to Bridgeport,” officials said. Click here to read the full post.
Watch Inslee’s full apology below:
Cox Media Group