On April 16, the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) revoked its own 2016 rule that ensures protective water standards for people that eat locally-caught fish in Washington state. EPA’s decision allows polluters to dump greatly increased amounts of toxic pollution into state waters, threatening communities, salmon, and orca whales that rely on clean water to thrive.
In response via press release, the Columbia Riverkeeper, North Sound Baykeeper, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, and Spokane Riverkeeper released the following statements:
“People rely on clean water and locally-caught fish. The Trump administration’s gift to polluting industries blatantly disregards people’s health and ignores decades of sound science. We are calling on Gov. Inslee and the Washington Department of Ecology to use the state’s authority and reinstate laws that protect all Washingtonians,” said Lauren Goldberg, legal and program director for Columbia Riverkeeper.
“Allowing polluters to put more poisons in our rivers and expose far more people to toxic health hazards is a terrible idea all around,” said Glen Spain, Northwest regional director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), a major commercial fishing industry trade group. “No one, and no corporation, should be given free rein to pollute the nation’s food supply, as these rollback rules would allow. The Trump administration’s ‘deregulation’ economics excuse is bunk — the State of Oregon has been using the same, much healthier, 175 grams per day fish consumption standard for years, and Oregon’s economy didn’t experience repercussions.”
“The Spokane River is one of the most polluted rivers in Washington State for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB),” said Jerry White, Jr., executive director of Spokane Riverkeeper. “There are Department of Health PCB advisories for the consumption of most types of fish in the Spokane River. Rescinding the water quality standards under industry pressure represents a profound failure to protect the public. In fact, it calls into question the integrity of the initiatives and efforts that are underway in our river to clean up the PCB pollution.”
“An attack on the Clean Water Act is an attack on our communities’ health — during a global pandemic. This shameful and reckless action puts us all at risk, and is a betrayal of the public trust and responsibility that the EPA has to protect clean water and public health,” said Eleanor Hines for North Sound Baykeeper at RE Sources.