Posts Tagged ‘EPA’

US Supreme Court Declines to Hear Teck Appeal, Finalizing Colville Tribes’ Victories In Columbia River Damages Casey

Justus Caudell – June 9, 2019

NESPELEM, WA—The US Supreme Court today declined to hear an appeal by Teck, Inc., of the Colville Tribes’ victories in a landmark environmental enforcement case, establishing that the Canadian mining giant’s actions in dumping millions of tons of toxic waste into the Upper Columbia River make it a responsible party under United States law.  

“This decision brings the Tribes’ more than 20-year legal battle with Teck to a close,” Rodney Cawston, Chairman of the Colville Business Council, said today. “We are very grateful for this result, that the highest Court in the land agrees that Teck is liable for the enormous damage it inflicted on our river.”

Cawston said that Colville never wavered in its fightagainst Teck, one of the world’s largest mining companies, which released nearly 10 million tons of toxic slag over nearly a century from its Trail, BC smelter.

“The Tribes was determined to protect our river, to do everything we could to right this wrong,” Cawston said.

Cawston said there were many Colville leaders and staff to thank for this victory

“I want to recognize and honor the determination and commitment of Colville Business Council members in the past, who began this difficult journey in the 1990s,” he said.  “Their courage and support of this cause has brought us where we are today.”

He also applauded the Tribes’ Environmental Trust Department for its commitment to hold Teck accountable, including former Environmental Trust Director Gary Passmore, who worked on the case for many years, and current Director Amelia Marchand.  “I must particularlythank Patti Bailey, who coordinated the Teck work for Environmental Trust” he said.  She worked passionately and tirelessly with our staff scientists and other experts to marshal the facts and arguments we needed to win.” Cawston said that although Bailey retired recently, handing over her work to Cindy Marchand, “Patti’s warrior spirit has kept us going.”

He said that the Tribes’ longtime chief litigator, Paul Dayton of Ogden Murphy Wallace (formerly Short Cressman Burgess) in Seattle, “has been our champion over the years, doing all the difficult and complex legal work required in this historic case.” And, Richard DuBey, also of Ogden Murphy, guided the start of effort and the first federal court filing in 2004.

The Tribes were joined by the State of Washington as co-plaintiffs against Teck in 2004.  “We appreciate the work of the State of Washington, which has stood with us in this cause,” Cawston said.  “We hope that now Teck will step up and do the right thing—to clean up its releases of hazardous substances in the Upper Columbia.”

Both the Tribes and the State argued that Teck should be found liable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Cleanup, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) for its releases of slag and effluent into the Upper Columbia River for almost 100 years.

“This is a great example of what can be accomplished when two sovereigns—the Colville Tribes and the State of Washington—join forces to protect the environment and hold polluters accountable,” Cawston said.  

The case establishes that federal environmental law can be used to hold a Canadian company liable when its operations cause from releases of hazardous substances inthe United States.  Teck had claimed that US courts lack jurisdiction over the company, but the Ninth Circuit found it “inconceivable” that Teck did not know its waste was aimed at Washington when it discharged slag and effluent directly to the Columbia River a few miles upstream from the US.  

The Tribes has also prevailed in its effort to establish that Teck has  “joint and several” liability for damages caused by its waste, meaning Teck will be responsible for all damages regardless of  whether others may have also contributed to the harm.

Today’s Supreme Court decision not to revisit the case also means the Tribes will recover than $8.5 million in scientific investigative costs and attorney’s fees incurred for assessing the site and proving Teck’s liability, and pre-judgment interest.

Cawston said the next step is for the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the Ninth Circuit’s judgment and begin cleanup and restoration of the Upper Columbia.The Tribes, along with the Department of Interior, the State of Washington and the Spokane Tribe of Indians, will continue enforcement actions to recover natural resource damages resulting from Teck’s contamination of the river.

Air pollution science under siege

Top EPA adviser attacks the agency for making decisions before major review of air pollution standards is completed.

Jeff Tollefson

28 MARCH 2019

A quarter of a century of research has shown that breathing in fine airborne particles emitted by cars, power plants and other sources shortens people’s lifespans. But that scientific consensus is now under attack from a top adviser to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), just as the agency is rushing to revise the national air-quality standard for such pollution before the end of President Donald Trump’s first term. Scientists fear that the result could be weaker rules on air pollution that are bad for public health — and based on politics, not science.

The US EPA is reviewing its standard for fine-particle pollution

The national air quality standards are designed to limit the amount of six widespread pollutants — including airborne particles and ozone — that are present in the air that people breathe. State and local governments must develop plans to curb pollution in areas that do not meet the standards. The EPA must review the science, and if necessary, revise the standard for each pollutant every five years, though in practice the process often takes longer.

The current review started in 2015, and various delays pushed the deadline back to 2022. But former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced early last year that the agency would push to complete its review and revision by December 2020. In order to meet that deadline, the EPA will have to curtail their normal review and revision process. In October 2018, the agency also dismantled a scientific advisory panel that works in parallel with the agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which advises officials on air-quality standards.

The latest development came on 28 March, when CASAC met to discuss a draft letter they had released several weeks earlier, which blasted agency scientists for relying on “subjective judgments” and “unverifiable opinions” in their evaluation of particulate pollution research. The head of CASAC, Tony Cox, is a statistician who has long questioned the evidence linking fine particulate pollution to premature deaths, and the draft letter reflects this scepticism.

The draft letter called on the EPA to do another research assessment looking at the uncertainties and inconsistencies in the scientific literature on air pollution. It said that the agency should include all relevant studies, including some authored by Cox, some of which were funded by industry groups.

The full committee removed much of the most controversial language during their 28 March meeting. But CASAC members remained divided on the link between fine particle pollution and premature death. The final text of the letter will reflect that division.

Nevertheless, the debate between CASAC members over the link between particulate pollution and public health has alarmed agency scientists, academics and environmental groups.

“They are just completely dismissing the science,” says Gretchen Goldman, an environmental engineer in Washington DC who tracks the issue for the Union of Concerned Scientists. She co-wrote a guest editorial1published on 21 March in Science urging the EPA not to abandon the scientific evidence on air pollution. “Without independent science, we risk having public-health decisions made for political reasons,” she says.

The benefits of preventing premature deaths from particulate pollution are also baked into other air pollution regulations, such as those targeting mercury and greenhouse gases. So downplaying the public-health impacts of particle pollution could help the Trump administration to roll back an array of environmental regulations, says Goldman.

Burden of proof

Cox defended his views in an email to Nature. The EPA process for reviewing air-quality standards is focused on “eliciting, synthesizing, and documenting the opinions and judgments” of the agency’s own scientists, which are often based on “ambiguous statistical associations that depended on unverified models and assumptions”, he said. His own research has raised questions about the link between reducing fine-particle pollution and saving lives.

But there is mounting evidence, compiled by a wide range of scientists from around the world, that links pollution to higher death rates. In a 2017 study2 of almost 61 million people, for instance, researchers at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, used satellite data and computer models to map out daily pollution levels on a 1-kilometre grid across the United States for 12 years. After controlling for factors including education and income, the scientists found that death rates increased in regions with more fine-particulate pollution and higher levels of ozone, a major component of smog — even if those areas met air-quality standards.

If anything, those results suggest that the national standard should be stricter than it is now, says Francesca Dominici, a biostatistician at Harvard University and a co-author of the 2017 study, as well as the Science editorial. But she stresses that her study is just one among many that have documented the public-health impacts from particulate pollution. “It’s about the whole body of evidence,” Dominici says.

Cory Zigler, a biostatistician at the University of Texas, Austin, says that Cox has effectively declared his own statistical methods king, writing off a variety of studies and methods demonstrating the link between air pollution and public health.

Cox says he is well aware of such criticisms and that he is only following the science where it leads, regardless of political consequences. “My sole motivation and commitment is to uphold and apply good science,” he told Nature.

Compressed timeline

The EPA’s recently confirmed administrator, Andrew Wheeler, is continuing the push to review and revise the particulate pollution standard by late 2020. But meeting the abbreviated deadline will be nearly impossible without damaging the integrity of the scientific review process, particularly in light of the delays caused by the government shutdown that ended in January, says an EPA official who is familiar with the process and who requested anonymity because they aren’t authorized to talk to the press.

Wheeler has also drawn criticism for disbanding the scientific review panel last October, which normally works in parallel with CASAC. The current CASAC members — all of whom were appointed after Trump took office — lack the scientific expertise in epidemiology and other fields to properly evaluate the EPA’s work on air-quality standards, says Christopher Frey, an environmental engineer at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Frey formerly chaired CASAC and was on the scientific review panel that Wheeler dissolved in October 2018.

Cox and other CASAC members have publicly acknowledged this criticism and say that they need access to additional experts. During the 28 March meeting, the committee revised its draft letter to include a request for the EPA to either reinstate the previous review panel or create a new one.

Frey adds that the normal process for assessing the science has been repeatedly reviewed and approved by CASAC, and that every prior assessment has confirmed the link between particulate pollution and death rates. “That finding is one of the most robust scientific findings in air-pollution health,” Frey says.

There is some difference of opinion within CASAC. Although the recent draft letter is highly critical of the EPA, individual comments submitted by some panel members, and included with the draft letter, were more supportive of the agency’s science assessment on particulate pollution. And three of the seven members called for the disbanded review panel to be reinstated.

What happens next is unclear. Normally, the EPA would revise its evaluation of the scientific research on the pollutant in question after input from CASAC and the larger scientific advisory panel. Then it would conduct an assessment focused on health risks and exposure trends. If the EPA found that an update to the standard was justified, it would then formally proposes a change. But many scientists and environmentalists expect the EPA will try to consolidate these steps in order to finalize a new standard next year.

To read Jeff Tollefson full article click here.

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Ecology Memo Recommending Additional Air Monitoring in Northport, WA

Department of Ecology

 

13 April 2017

TO:  Karen Wood and Chris Hanlon-Meyer

FROM:  Matt Kadlec

SUBJECT:  Regional PM10 Air Monitoring Speciation Network Comparison to
Measured and Predicted Conditions in the Upper Columbia River Valley
near the U.S.-Canadian Border

 

An analysis was recently completed on observed and estimated recent air quality
conditions for arsenic, cadmium, and lead within the upper Columbia River valley near
the international border.[1]  The report recommended a renewal of monitoring of certain aerosol elements in that area in order to conclusively determine current air quality conditions there.

Those estimates are matched to comparable data from monitors in Washington,
Oregon and Idaho as follows.

In the histograms below, the mean concentrations of US EPA Air Quality System
(AQS)[2] PM10 speciation data are compared to estimates of the mean concentrations
near Northport and the upper Columbia River Valley near the border (UCR). All the
means are of the February 2009 through December 2014 interval.

arsenic

 

 

 

cadmium

lead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISCUSSION

The upper limit of each location’s histogram bar is the ≈ 6-year mean PM10 element
concentration in micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). The purple bars are the
estimated concentrations in the upper Columbia River Valley area and near Northport.
The blue bars are the observed mean concentrations at the AQS monitor locations.

 

CONCLUSIONS

Average airborne PM10 arsenic and lead concentrations in the upper Columbia River
valley near the international border are potentially the highest known levels in
Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Likewise, the average airborne cadmium
concentrations are potentially the highest known anywhere in three states except at the monitor at 2231 N Flint Ave, Portland, OR, which is about 500 feet from an art-glass
foundry known to have emitted high levels of cadmium in particulate matter.[3]

Previously interpreted air monitoring data from 2009 through 2014 suggest that current
emissions from the Trail smelter continue to influence upper Columbia River valley air
quality. PM10 arsenic, cadmium and lead concentrations in the upper Columbia River
valley near the international border exceed expected air quality conditions for a rural
setting. Absent smelter emissions, the particulate metal concentrations in this rural
portion or northeast Washington likely would be about as low as those at the monitors
in rural Oregon and Idaho.

These findings reinforce the need for current PM10 speciation monitoring in the upper
Columbia River Valley near the international border and Northport area.

 

 

1 https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/1702003.html
2 https://www.epa.gov/aqs accessed by Jill Schulte, 6 April 2017

3 http://www.opb.org/news/article/why-portland-heavy-metals-pollution-went-undetected-for-so-long/ Accessed 11 April 2017

NORTHPORT, WA; “THE HEAVY FALLOUT ZONE”

The Perfect Storm 

 

by: Jamie Paparich

 

Northport is a small town in north east Washington, located 7 miles from the Canadian border. The town has approximately 375 residents, many of them born and raised there, as were their parents and grandparents.

It is a wonderful little town, situated along the Columbia River in a beautiful valley. Unfortunately, it is this beautiful valley and river front location that helped create a perfect storm of events that have caused countless residents to be plagued with multiple diseases and cancers, spanning three generations. It is also the reason the EPA and DOH refer to Northport as the “heavy fallout zone.”

The pollution is coming from a Canadian smelter located 3 miles up river in Trail, B.C., Teck Resources (Teck). Teck started operating the smelter in 1896. It is now one of the largest lead and zinc smelters in the world. Unfortunately their success has come at a great price to the people of Northport.

A by-product of the smelting process creates a black, sand like material called slag. This slag contains heavy metal toxins including; arsenic, cadmium, lead, zinc, and several others. For over 90 years, from 1906 thru 1996, Teck dumped approximately 9.8 million tons of slag directly into the Columbia River. Teck reasoned that the velocity of the Columbia river would dilute the toxic slag long before it could impact the environment or come to populated areas. They were wrong.

Unfortunately the swift moving river begins to slow and curve right as it flows into Northport. This creates the perfect environment for the slag to disperse and settle onto the town’s riverbanks, beaches, and swimming holes. Children in Northport spent most of the hot summer days playing in these swimming holes, filled with highly toxic water. If they weren’t at the swimming holes they were playing on the beaches. A favorite local beach was Black Sand Beach. It was named this because the sand appeared black, but actually it was not sand at all, it was slag from the smelter.

Another by-product of the smelting process is the air emissions released from the smelter’s two smoke stacks. The emissions contain the same heavy metal toxins the slag contains. The smelter’s air emissions flow south into Northport, where the majority of the toxic air becomes trapped in the valley.

The area specifically referred to as the “heavy fallout zone” are the farms located approximately 2 miles outside of Northport, located along Mitchell Road. These farms received the brunt of the smelter’s pollution because the majority of the air settled above them and they were located next to the area of the river that had the most recesses, and where it slowed.  For more info on the smelter’s impact click here.

The families living in the heavy fallout zone also suffer from the same rare illnesses. Beginning as early as 1960 many of the children living along Mitchell Road have been diagnosed with two very rare auto immune diseases; ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Many of the adults have been diagnosed with multiple scoliosis, parkinson’s disease, leukemia, prostate, bladder, stomach, and breast cancer.

My Grandparents ranch is located in the heavy fallout zone. A beautiful ranch they scrimped and saved to buy in 1957, pouring their blood, sweat and tears into it until their deaths. My Grandfather passed away from leukemia and my Grandmother passed away from parkinson’s. My father and aunt have suffered from ulcerative colitis their entire lives, eventually both of them had to have their large intestines and colons removed, as did many of their childhood friends.

Washington State Department of Ecology conducted four air monitoring studies in Northport between 1993-1998. They set up an air monitor for all four on my Grandparents land. The results of all four showed extremely high levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead in the air. The levels were way above safety standards. The levels of arsenic were 200 times higher than national safety standards. No one ever warned my Grandparents of the results, or anyone living in Northport.

In the late 1980’s the EPA conducted soil sampling on the farm as well. They found elevated levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead in several of the soil samples collected, including the testing they did on their gardens and crops. They never informed anyone on these results either.

The residents of Northport were, and are, exposed to these heavy metal toxins 24 hours a day, through multiple routes of exposure. Through the air they breath, the soil they ingest from garden grown produce, the dust they breath in their house, and the toxic particulate matter in the air that absorbs through their skin. There is no where for them to escape it, and until very recently they were not even aware the danger existed.

The heavy fallout zone was created because of a perfect storm of events. The smelter’s air emissions becoming trapped in the valley, the location and speed of the river, and the lack of support, or even warnings, from the very U.S. agencies created to protect us.

With the current situation in Flint, Michigan the press coverage has people talking about how the U.S. agencies, specifically the EPA, and the state and federal government officials could have let down this poor community in such a devastating way. This is not an isolated incident.

The truth is this is happening all over the United States, in countless small towns. The EPA and the DOH conduct studies of the areas suspected to be impacted by local industrial sources. However, even when their studies conclude the communities are being exposed to dangerous levels of toxins, and they are in “intermediate danger”, the assistance ends there. The EPA and the DOH have told our community it is beyond their scope to do anything more than report their findings. They didn’t even tell us this until a few citizens actually took the time to read the complex reports they published and discovered, in the fine print, the danger we were in.

In 1999 the EPA finally issued a unilateral order to Teck to take financial responsibility for a remedial investigation and feasibility study of the area. Teck ignored this order, and the EPA all but forgot about it. They took no further action until two members from the Colville Confederate Tribe filed a lawsuit against Teck in 2003, in an attempt to hold them liable for the cost of a Superfund clean-up. The EPA then joined the tribe members in the lawsuit. If it were not for these two brave individuals the EPA would have continued to ignore us.

When finally forced into action, these U.S. agencies spend decades completing studies, and then it takes several more years for them to publish their findings.  On the rare occasions they share their findings with the communities they slant the facts and statistics, ensuring the residents they are (most likely) safe, even though sound science says otherwise.

These agencies, whose salaries we fund, are not doing their jobs. They claim it is not their job to do much more than pass their results on to “other” government agencies that can assist us in the aftermath of their findings. The scary thing is these “other” government agencies do not exist. Has no one in the government realized this?

Due to the accumulation, (or body burden), of toxins in the organs and cells, many illnesses linked to chronic exposure to heavy metal toxins, through multiple routes of exposure, don’t result for decades.

Soon the EPA will be unable to deny a correlation between the toxins they under reported to the hundreds of communities they investigated for decades, and the cluster of health issues being discovered in these same communities now. These consequences could have been avoided when the EPA was established in 1970, instead they have spent 46 years doing work governed by politics, industry, and in an atmosphere that encourages the employees to do as little work as possible, and to drag their feet while doing it.

It is our money that pays for these agencies, so it is our right and responsibility to hold Congress accountable to make major changes in the structure and guidelines of these federal agencies, who intern oversee state agencies. Congress represents us, the agencies are responsible for protecting us. It is time we hold them accountable for decades of negligence.

WATER CRISIS IN FLINT; EPA ACCOUNTABLE?

The Environmental Protection Agency is the ultimate line of defense against water contamination. Yet the Michigan crisis isn’t the first one this decade

 

 

The ultimate responsibility to safeguard public health rests with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), per the Clean Water Act. In fact, there are provisions of the Clean Water Act that provide for criminal prosecutions for violations that can result in fines and imprisonment.

The EPA has 200 fully authorized federal law enforcement agents who can carry firearms, 70 forensic scientists and technicians, and 45 attorneys who specialize in environmental crimes enforcement. Yet the EPA, mandated as the public’s last, best line of defense, failed the people – yet again – when it came to the Flint water crisis.

The Flint atrocity could, with congressional and presidential resolve, be the last one – agency administrators and political appointees serve at the pleasure of the president, and Congress is responsible for doling out funding to them.

But for that resolve to crystallize, the horrors of the poisoning of Flint need to be seen within the historical contexts that show the crimes committed against the people of Flint fit a toxic template with deep roots in the managerial culture of the EPA that has repeatedly created sacrifice zones in poor, predominantly black and brown communities of America, often backed by congressional and presidential inaction.

Congress, acting on behalf of the people, must break this cycle and hold all public officials who were complicit in the tragedy in Flint to account.

Ten years ago, municipal water quality expert Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech professor who is now part of the group investigating Flint, took on the EPA and the CDC about lead poisoning in Washington DC. It took six years and tens of thousands of his own dollars to fight two federal agencies charged with protecting the public. After that period, by virtue of wresting Foia request information that both agencies had withheld from the public – and surviving both agency’s efforts to discredit him as an unreliable rogue – the agencies finally had to admit they had misled the public, and that a disproportionate number of Washington’s children of color suffered lead poisoning.

In 2005, the EPA used $2.1m provided by the American Chemistry Council to study the effects of pesticides on infants and babies, in what was known as the Children’s Environmental Exposure Research Study, or Cheers. It offered $970, a free camcorder, a bib and a T-shirt to parents whose infants were exposed to pesticides in Duval County, Florida, if the parents completed a two-year study, which included “spraying pesticides inside your home routinely”.

California senator Barbara Boxer decried the program as “appalling, unethical and immoral”, saying it “is the worst kind of thing; it’s environmental injustice where children are the victims”. The acting EPA administrator moved decisively and halted the program – because Boxer vowed to hold up his confirmation until the study was shut down.

When asked about his experience witnessing the most recent effects of contaminated water, Marc Edwards almost came out of his chair at a congressional hearing on Flint water last week, which we both attended. “There was plenty enough evidence in the corrosive material found in the water samples to merit immediate action,” he said. “They didn’t need to wait for levels of lead to spike in the children’s blood before they did anything. But the [department of environmental quality] and the EPA were perfectly content to have their way with the children of Flint.”

He stopped himself, struggling for composure. He lowered his eyes.

At the same time, muffled breathing grew a few rows behind him at the back of the room. Then a choking sound. And then a wail. A black woman in a red dress stood up, bent sharply at the waist with her hands clasped in fists against her lips. She tried and failed to hold back her cries. She turned and rushed toward the aisle.

The members noticed. Heads turned. The woman in red left, her sobs filling the chamber as she trailed through the heavy wooden doors. The EPA representatives didn’t even look in her direction.

Today we need to ask: what did EPA administrator Gina McCarthy know about Flint, and when did she know it? Representative Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee, has authorized US Marshals to “hunt him down” – referring to Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley – and “serve him that subpoena”. McCarthy also needs to be subpoenaed. The agency’s track record of collateral damage must be stopped.

But given the EPA’s repeated history of burying its actions, we cannot trust it to investigate itself. There needs to be an independent, transparent and comprehensive investigation of the underlying culture that prevents those conducting good science and best practices from fulfilling the agency’s mission.

 

Click here to read original article on theguardian.com website.

 

EPA failure to act in Flint

Almost 45 years ago, Congress showed great wisdom in creating the architecture for implementing this country’s environmental laws. From the Safe Drinking Water Act to the Clean Air Act, and to laws regulating hazardous and solid waste, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shares the responsibility with state governments for implementing their provisions: from permitting, to inspections, to enforcement.

Where states don’t have the resources, wherewithal or political will to implement the laws meant to protect public health and the environment, the federal government is not only legally empowered, but also legally and — in some cases — morally, obligated to act. This is especially true in emergencies where there is an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public’s health.

The actions currently being taken by U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, as welcome as they are, are long overdue. Flint is a failure to act by those charged with protecting our safety and health (under the law) at both the federal and state levels.

Despite what some have said, the U.S. EPA does have the ability to take back delegated programs, like this one. But more importantly, the U.S. EPA has the independent authority to take emergency actions. That didn’t happen. At the very least, that’s an abrogation of great public trust and responsibility by many of the public officials involved.

There is plenty of blame to go around, not to mention possible criminal charges down the road. There is also the matter of a widespread erosion of confidence well beyond Flint, where everyone in America is suddenly — and justifiably — wondering, “What about my water?”

When confronted with concrete information about the significant health threats posed by lead in Flint’s drinking water almost a year ago, U.S. EPA officials had the authority to act decisively, with or without the state, to aggressively address a serious problem. They did not.

It was within the mandate of the U.S. EPA to warn the public, provide alternate water supplies and filters, conduct sampling, call in the Centers for Disease Control, and issue emergency orders to Michigan and Flint compelling action. They did not.

But beyond legal authority, mandates and responsibility, the U.S. EPA had the moral obligation to do something about Flint. They did not.

The fact it did not happen as months went by — and thousands of people were exposed to contaminated water — can only be considered hubris.

Several years ago, as I thanked an organization for an award, I said that working in a public office is a great honor and a responsibility, because you have the ability to impact the lives of millions of people — for better or worse.

In Flint, it was for an almost unimaginable worse.

Mary Gade is president of Gade Environmental Group in Chicago. She served as U.S. EPA regional administrator, Region 5, 2006-2008.

EPA to hold community meeting August 20th

Come talk to us about metals in soil and proposed actions Share your concerns and questions

In response to your requests for a meeting, EPA, Ecology, and the Northeast Tri-County Health District invite you to share your concerns and questions.

EPA and the Washington Department of Ecology will discuss Ecology’s recent reports on elevated levels of metals in soil and answer questions.

Residential soil testing

Based on recent soil testing, Ecology is asking EPA to accelerate planned residential soil sampling. EPA would like to hear from the community to better prepare a sampling plan. Local knowledge can inform EPA’s decision about where and how to sample the soil in residential areas in the Columbia River Valley close to the U.S.-Canadian border.

Please join us

… at the Northport Community Connections Center on Tuesday evening, August 20, at 6:30 pm.

Representatives from EPA and Ecology will be available to talk about Ecology’s recent study, EPA’s plans, and discuss your concerns and answer your questions.

Where: Northport Community Connections Center, 405 Center Ave.,

Northport, WA 99157

When: Tuesday, August 20, at 6:30 pm

For questions please contact:

Kay Morrison, Community Involvement Coordinator, US Environmental Protection Agency

206-553-8321, or toll free at 1-800-424-4372

Carol Bergin, Public Involvement Specialist, WA Department of Ecology – 509-329-3546

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