Tribes reject Inslee’s water quality plan, will ask EPA to act

  • By Jerry Cornfield
  • Friday, September 5, 2014 2:43pm
  • Local News

An alliance of tribes is rejecting Gov. Jay Inslee’s approach to revising the state’s water quality standards and will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to enact new rules for Washington.

The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission sent Inslee a letter on Thursday in which members express their “dissatisfaction” with a proposal they say won’t change the status quo.

“The tribes’ principal objective for revised water quality standards is to protect the health of future generations, and we have determined that your proposal does not meet this goal,” reads the letter.

Tribal leaders will meet Monday with Dennis McLerran, EPA regional administrator.

Under the federal Clean Water Act, the state must adopt standards that ensure rivers and major bodies of water are clean enough to support fish that are safe for humans to eat.

Since 1992, the state has operated under a rule that assumed the average amount of fish eaten each day is 6.5 grams which is about a quarter of an ounce per day.

Inslee’s proposal unveiled July 9 would increase the fish consumption rate to 175 grams a day — a figure tribal leaders accept. The higher the number means fewer toxic pollutants would be allowed in waters.

But fish consumption is only one part of the regulatory equation. Another is the cancer risk rate and Inslee wants to apply different rates to different chemicals, something no other state now does and may not pass muster with the federal government.

Currently, state law assumes no more than one person out of 1 million will get cancer eating fish caught in Washington waters.

Inslee wants to apply that rate for some of the 96 chemicals regulated under the federal law but use a lower rate of one in 100,000 people for others. That would effectively crack down on some chemicals but not all of them.

“It is incomprehensible that the state would consider changing the cancer risk rate in state standards to a rate that is ten times less protective,” the letter reads. “Essentially, the proposal modifies the fish consumption rate to reflect higher levels of consumption in our state, but trades this improvement for a less protective cancer risk rate.”

Talk to us

More in Local News

Granite Falls
Granite Falls man died after crashing into tree

Kenneth Klasse, 63, crashed June 14. He was pronounced dead a week later. Police continued to investigate.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash near Lake Stevens

Around 10 p.m., a motorcyclist and a passenger car crashed north of Lake Stevens. The man driving the motorcycle died.

Everett
Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Everett boy, 12, identified as Davies Beach drowning victim

Malachi Bell was one of three swimmers in distress Sunday in Lake Stevens. He did not survive.

Food forum
Cool down with these summertime drink recipes

Refresh yourself with two light, refreshing drink recipes.

Rev. Eugene Casimir Chirouse, pictured here holding a cross at front right in 1865, founded a boarding school for Indigenous students on Tulalip Bay. It became one of the first religious schools in the country to receive a federal contract to educate Indigenous youth, with the goal of assimilation. (Courtesy of Hibulb Cultural Center)
Unearthing the ‘horrors’ of the Tulalip Indian School

The Tulalip boarding school evolved from a Catholic mission into a weapon for the government to eradicate Native culture. Interviews with survivors and primary documents give accounts of violent cultural suppression under the guise of education at the “Carlisle of the West,” modeled after the notorious Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

X
A brief timeline of Pacific Northwest boarding schools

The Tulalip Indian School had roots as a Catholic mission founded in 1857. Its history is intertwined with the Tulalip Reservation.

Officials tour the future site of the Faith Family Village Wednesday morning at Faith Lutheran Church in Everett, Washington on June 29, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Everett eyeing Sievers Duecy city land for new shelter village

If approved, it could be near another new village for families at a church — and the third shelter of its kind in the city.

Traffic moves along Avenue D in Snohomish next to an open space that could be used for MFTE housing Snohomish is considering adding to the new Midtown District. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish weighs tax breaks for affordable homes, though results vary

Other Snohomish County cities say the tax exemption has spurred some growth, but not much, and at a cost.

Most Read