You can watch the governor’s announcement here at noon.
This decision comes after decades of advocacy by the tribes to increase the state’s fish consumption rate (an important part of the formula to determine water quality standards) to a realistic level. Currently, the rate is 6.5 grams a day, well below even the consumption of an average state citizen. This rate is especially low compared to the consumption rate of a treaty tribal member.
Robert McClure at Investigate West posted up another great story today on the progress of this issue:
At issue is a state pollution-control formula that bases the amount of water pollution permitted on how much fish people are thought to be eating, an estimate known as the fish consumption rate. So the less fish people eat, the more pollution can be allowed.
But Washingtonians’ fish-eating is much higher than the rate used in the formula, particularly among Indian tribes and other heavy consumers of local fish, according to studies dating to the mid-1990s.
The governor is in a tough spot politically. Indian tribes and environmentalists say people deserve more protection from pollutants such as mercury and PCBs.